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IU and Cook Medical unveil new service to help medical breakthroughs reach the marketplace

For medical researchers and inventors, discovering new innovative technologies is only a first step. To save lives and improve human health, these treatments and devices must make it from the lab to the marketplace -- a process that can be time consuming and filled with roadblocks.

In an effort to streamline this process, Indiana University's Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI), the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI), and Cook Medical have worked together to create, a unique online service that matches inventors and technology transfer professionals with companies looking to develop their inventions into commercially viable products.

"Health care research and products have become highly specialized, and inventors and technology transfer organizations are struggling to find the right licensing partner," said Bill Barnett, senior manager of life sciences for PTI. "i2iconnect gives them a place where they can find current, accurate information on the innovations companies are seeking."

i2iconnect makes matches through an easy-to-use, free web interface that accesses a database of medical companies. Users look for potential partners by searching specific keywords or disease categories. Technology transfer offices find that the service helps broaden the search for innovation partners, speeding the technology transfer process.

"i2iconnect addresses a critical and often challenging step in the translational medicine life cycle," said Indiana CTSI director Anantha Shekhar. "In order for medical and scientific research to have real impact, new technologies must reach the market and the patients."

With more than 5,500 medical device, biotechnology and pharmaceutical manufacturers in North America alone, bringing technology from the lab to the bedside can be highly complex. Medical schools and researchers must find a manufacturing partner that suits their research objectives, and manufacturers must match their research interests with projects that are relevant to their strategic clinical focus from the more than 125 medical schools in North America. The system will potentially carve months from the search process by helping companies and researchers find the right partner quickly, reducing the amount of time and energy both sides spend corresponding with potential partners who do not have compatible interests.

"The i2iconnect system is going to be a significant time-saver for both manufacturers and university researchers," said Thomas Cherry, product development manager of Cook Medical's Critical Care division. "The greatest benefit of such a system -- and a missing piece to the puzzle -- is that it will effectively link researchers with the appropriate industry personnel contact at a much faster pace than was previously possible. The length of time to advance new innovative technologies to the patients has just been significantly shortened."

i2iconnect is supported in part by an award from the National Institutes of Health American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) through the National Center for Research Resources. The Indiana CTSI focuses on translational science, a new model of research that works to convert medical discoveries from the laboratory into products and treatments for improving human health.

"Tools such as i2iconnect, illustrate how Recovery Act funds have been leveraged to enhance the ability of researchers to find and develop partnerships with industries that can turn their inventions into drugs and devices that add value to patient care," said Barbara Alving, M.D., director, National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health.

This news release was originally published July 13, 2010.