A product development business has made a big move into healthcare, collaborating with the second-largest public hospital group in the country to launch a healthcare and medical device innovation business. It is seeking to become the largest hub of healthcare ideas and license them out to large companies in the healthcare industry.
The healthcare arm for Edison Nation is called Edison Nation Medical and is looking to develop ideas that solve problems in the healthcare industry, using the Carolinas HealthCare System to validate ideas, according to Louis Foreman, the CEO of Edison Nation and a serial entrepreneur.If it is successful in finding someone to license the product, Edison Nation Medical will split the licensing agreement proceeds 50/50 with the entrepreneur.
Foreman is also the executive producer of the PBS television program “Everyday Edisons,” which led to the development of the Edison Nation website. For Edison Nation, the company works with retailers and manufacturers to find out what kind of innovations they are looking for and what problems they need to solve. Foreman also serves on the patent public advisory committee for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
As soon as participants submit an idea they get a virtual dashboard with eight steps in the process going from the initial idea to commercialization. Red lights will turn green as the idea advances. The intention, says Foreman, is to take some of the anxiety out of the process. Ideas could be vetted within weeks, or it could take months depending on the level of interest among healthcare providers and manufacturers the company works with around the world.
Its investment sweet spot tends to be $50,000 to $150,000, said Foreman. Although it doesn’t set out to develop medical devices that need regulatory approval, the company isn’t afraid to venture into class 3 devices if it can prove the technology justifies the investment.
Among its success stories outlined on its website is a device for bone graft surgery to separate blood and fluid from bone fragments. It is currently undergoing testing for U.S. Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance. Another is a prosthetic hand, which relies on a system of pulleys rather than robotics, intended to be a functional but more affordable alternative to robotic hands on the market.
“This is a very collaborative approach,”Foreman said. “It is not just about locking up ideas for Carolinas HealthCare System.”
It is also planning to set up a dedicated innovation fund to support the development of entrepreneurs’ ideas, similar to the $25 million fund it set up for Edison Nation.
The amount of time it takes for an idea to get licensed depends on the invention and how much development work has gone into it before submission.
Although there is a certain overlap with Edison Nation, Foreman said it has started to hire additional biomedical engineers and analysts to do the review process, along with people with a strong healthcare background for the Charlotte, North Carolina-based business.
“We have set this up to get sparks and it’s up to us to turn it into a raging fire.”