San Antonio—A group of San Antonio institutions are getting involved in an FDA program that seeks to distribute about $6.75 million worth of seed funding as well as business and product development advising to makers of pediatric medical devices.
The program is called the Pediatric Device Consortia Grant Program. The FDA is handing out grants to five nonprofit consortia around the country over the next five years. The Southwest Pediatric Device Consortium, which represents organizations throughout the Southwestern U.S., has received one of those $6.75 million grants and is working with four San Antonio organizations to find people in San Antonio and Austin who may be developing pediatric medical devices. Those organizations, InCube Labs, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, Southwest Research Institute, and VelocityTX, will also provide the business and product development advising, such as help on prototyping, engineering, and clinical trial design.
InCube Labs runs a healthcare-focused research and development business that both creates and acquires early stage life science companies to incubate. VelocityTX operates startup programs, is building a large innovation center, and provides other resources to tech and life science companies in San Antonio.
The portion of the $6.75 million that is put toward seed or pilot funding for medical devices will depend on the number of people that apply to the program, but the Southwestern consortium has supported about 20 to 25 projects annually from previous grant awards, according to Balakrishna Haridas, a professor of engineering at Texas A&M University and a principal investigator for the Southwestern consortium. The group uses often uses pitch competitions, such as the annual Impact Pediatric Health event at South by Southwest, to award funding, says Chester Koh, another principal investigator, who is an associate professor of urology at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. (A moment from 2016 Impact Pediatric Health pitch competition is pictured above, featuring AOL founder Steve Case and Grover.)
The FDA says the program has awarded $37 million since 2009.