IDEA² Global announces 2017 class of project teams

15 international teams developing new biomedical technologies get innovation training and expert resources

  • Teams win 7-month innovation training and project mentoring from innovators at MIT and other world-class institutions
  • New technologies range from recombinant protein therapy for multiple sclerosis to air filtration to control infectious diseases

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, 17 MAY 2017—MIT linQ, an international biomedical technology innovation consortium based in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Sciences (MIT IMES), announced the 15 teams admitted to IDEA2 Global 2017. The 7-month program provides intensive innovation method training, collaborative project development, and team-specific mentoring and expertise to help teams move novel health technology ideas toward real-world application.

“The teams are very strong and the projects are interesting and diverse, ranging from diagnostics to treatments and covering many disease areas,” said Dr Mercedes Balcells-Camps, Program Chair of IDEA2 Global and a Principal Research Scientist at MIT. “The teams are very multidisciplinary, and they base their proposed solutions to unmet clinical needs on solid research results.”

Proposals to IDEA2 Global were invited from anywhere in the world, and many were prequalified by the program’s partners. These partners, other organizations dedicated to fostering biomedical technology innovation, include Fundación para la Innovación y la Prospectiva en Salud en España (FIPSE, a Spain-based nonprofit dedicated to advancing new healthcare technologies), the MIT Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES), the Medicine Innovation Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, PDS (a US-based IT services and innovation company), and MIT Hacking Medicine.

The projects selected for 2017 included are:

  • “Diagnosing tuberculosis by means metabolomics techniques”—A new method to both detect TB in patients and monitor treatment effects.
  • “Medical devices in Anesthesiology and Critical Care”—A technology to improve patient safety during endoscopic procedures and similar therapeutic/diagnostic interventions.
  • “Recombinant protein for the diagnosis and treatment of Multiple Sclerosis”—A technology that makes scientific discoveries potentially practical for clinical implementation.
  • “Corneal stroma fabrication”—A new production technique to meet the global need for transplantable materials that prevent or reverse blindness.
  • “CEMARK, a molecular tool to diagnose endometrial cancer”—A diagnostic kit promising to be more efficient and accurate than the current practice.
  • “HistShock: septic shock diagnosis and prognosis using mass spectrometry-based detection of circulating histones”— A novel strategy to analyze and predict septic shock outcomes.
  • “SoundClue”—An app to help caregivers communicate with autistic patients.
  • “Wave Biomedics”—Developing rehabilitation technologies for comfortable and efficient recovery.
  • “B cell immunotherapy for central nervous system injury”—A technology to limit inflammation and promote neuroregeneration.
  • “Testing Eggcrate and LED GUV: New Approaches to Upper-Room Air Disinfection”—Two novel methods for disinfecting air to reduce infectious disease transmission, such as tuberculosis.
  • “Statu/s: A novel handheld device for noninvasive assessment of jugular vein pressure”—A new handheld device for rapid and accurate bedside assessment of jugular vein pressure by physicians for real-time clinical decision-making.
  • “VAAS: Vision and audition aid system for schizoid patients”—A device to help schizoid disease patients distinguish between hallucinations and reality.
  • “Biologics on demand”—An automated, end-to-end platform for manufacturing biologic therapies for rare diseases.
  • “MemoRoom”—A virtual reality environment to improve memory in Alzheimer’s patient using light stimulation.
  • “Take Me There”—A wearable technology for those with early stage dementia to help them live safely at home.

The teams were selected competitively based on their potential for impact and readiness for additional support. “The mentoring will help each project to evolve and to answer questions they have now. We selected these because we thought IDEA2 could help them address their challenges,” said Dr Balcells-Camps.

Professors Martha Gray (MIT) and Mehmet Toner (Harvard Medical School), faculty co-chairs of IDEA2 Global, agree, “This is an exciting group of projects. We expect to see great progress as they meet with their expert mentors and undergo innovation training, in the service of realizing potentially important new medical technology innovations.”

The teams will meet at MIT in June for an initial workshop to sharpen the focus on the medical need they intend to address. They will then be matched with project mentors and subject and technology experts to help them develop their project over the summer. In October, the teams will meet again in a workshop to refine their project definition. Finally, in December they will gather to make their final pitches to a panel of judges, who will name the best projects.

Teams in past editions of IDEA2 Global found the project mentorship and specialized expertise helped them strengthen their projects. In some cases, teams even shift their focus on a problem with even greater healthcare potential. Alex Krull, a member of 2016 IDEA2 Global team Echo Diagnostics, said “We’re now at the point where we can start running with this idea…we could have run with a flawed idea for who knows how long. From a business and efficiency perspective, I got years’ worth of real insight.”

About IDEA2 Global

IDEA² Global provides mentoring and connections to biomedical innovators around the world to develop their project ideas and to provide the expertise to realize them. It is especially valuable for trainees, early-stage professionals, and those who have few opportunities in their normal work to participate in innovation projects. More at http://Idea2.mitlinq.org

About MIT linQ

MIT linQ is an initiative based in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Institute for Medical Engineering and Sciences (MIT IMES) to develop a new paradigm for biomedical technology innovation. MIT linQ, part of the MIT Innovation Initiative, unifies a portfolio of international innovation programs focused on improving healthcare through need-driven, interdisciplinary research and training. For more information, visit http://mitlinq.org