Georgia CTSA – The Innovation Catalyst Program
The goal of CTSAs across the nation is to “get more treatments to more patients more quickly”1. One effective pathway to reach patients is via commercializing biomedical innovations. However, within an academic environment, researchers often do not have access to or experience with building the skills necessary to take an innovation to market. Hence, the Georgia CTSA opted to create a unique program in September 2017 called Innovation Catalyst, to specifically address the myriad of skills, competencies, and considerations investigators must take into account if they want to successfully commercialize their projects.
The Georgia CTSA Innovation Catalyst program has three specific aims to address challenges in the translational pipeline; outreach, engagement, and education. These aims span two focus areas: 1.) feeding the investigator pipeline (STEM4Students) because the vast majority of innovations fail and more investigators are needed to fill the idea pipeline, and 2.) providing commercializing training and resources for entrepreneurial investigators to achieve commercial success (Bench2Market).
To that end, the Innovation Catalyst program recently launched these new initiatives; RegRoadmap to assist investigators with developing a comprehensive regulatory strategy, BizGrants to provide seed funding and guidance on how to write SBIR/STTR grants, AppHatchery to conceptualize, assess feasibility, and develop mobile health applications, as well as the monthly Bench2Market Talks series on relevant commercialization topics attended by 20-30 investigators from academic institutions across the Georgia CTSA.