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Connectivity, collaboration and opportunity: These are the watchwords of industry leaders from the Rhode Island medical-technology community who are organizing a new statewide cluster.
The group’s goal is to create an industry-led organization that can build out a strong, Rhode Island-based, med-tech ecosystem. Among the categories envisioned for the med-tech group’s members are biotech, pharmaceuticals, devices, diagnostics, algorithms and related technologies.
Known informally as the Rhode Island Med Group, the group held its second meeting on Jan. 17 at Ximedica in Providence, attracting a diverse crowd of more than 40 entrepreneurs, CEOs, venture capitalists, researchers, editors and lawyers.
The event was hosted by Stephen Lane, chairman, chief venture officer and co-founder of Ximedica, a firm that helps medical device and health care companies develop new products from research to final manufacturing.
At the conclusion of more than two hours of discussion, Lane said the session was very productive. “We accomplished a lot,” he said. “I’m eager to read the written statements on purpose and mission [offered by the participants] about what this group can achieve, to further help to define who we are and where we’re going.” Nothing, Lane added, “is set in concrete; we’re all in the business of discovery.”
The industry-led group is seeking to create a support structure that can help any company grow, according to Lane. The group plans to investigate how similar clusters in other states, such as the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council, have organized.
The Rhode Island Foundation has offered to support the group’s formation by providing funding for an executive director to help facilitate cohesion and momentum, with an initial $50,000 pledged.
Among the ideas discussed in the breakout group on “connectivity” was development of a website as the quickest way to foster collaboration, according to David Philip Goldsmith, co-founder of Aspiera Medical in Woonsocket, who reported back to the larger group. In addition, Goldsmith continued, because the group as a whole was about “the development and discovery and manufacturing and distribution of medical products,” outreach to doctors and nurses who feel affinity to these efforts, because they are entrepreneurial, made sense.