CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, 15 December 2021—MIT linQ, a health technology innovation initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduated the 10 teams of IDEA2 2021. IDEA2 is an international mentorship program that helps emerging healthtech innovators to drive their new technology ideas toward healthcare impact.
The teams, which came from the United States, Spain, Chile, Israel, Hungary, England, and India, were accepted to IDEA2 on the strength of their projects proposals to solve urgent unmet medical needs with innovative technologies and businesses. Through intensely interactive workshops and dedicated, customized mentorship, IDEA2 equipped the teams with practices and professional networks to improve their customer research, research strategy, and business plans.
“The global pandemic hasn’t stopped biomedical technology innovation. Indeed, it has sharpened our focus on those suffering when new technologies and enterprises can help,” said Mercedes Balcells-Camps, PhD, Program Chair of IDEA2 and a Principal Research Scientist at MIT. “With this edition of IDEA2, we’re proud to include such diverse and creative project teams. Their progress toward their important goals is inspiring.
Teams were recruited to the program in the spring and were matched with technical experts and mentors who helped them develop their technologies and business ventures. Over the following seven months, they meet with these people and were trained in innovation methods and communication skills.
Teams included in the 2021 cohort were:
- Aqueous Joint: Engineering liposomes that lubricate knee joints to mitigate osteoarthritis
- 3D Spinal implants—Autologous neural implants to aid recovery from spinal cord injuries
- Bilifit—A safe and affordable home-based monitoring solution for neonatal jaundice
- Fast 4T—A device for detecting thyroid problems in pregnancy
- INIA Biosciences—Developing a home-use device to maintain immune system balance and prevent kidney transplant rejection
- Ion vs SARS-COV-2—Making a new low-cost air purification system to prevent disease transmission
- Magic Rest—Designing a smart bed that uses the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor and control sleep to improve its quality
- Oncobiome—A new diagnostic method to detect breast cancer in feces samples
- Footshot—A dermo-epidermal suspension spray device
- TIPY—A smart pacifier to monitor a newborn’s vital signs
On the first day of their two-day closing workshop this month, an expert panel representing medical, technical, and business expertise heard presentations and provided critical advice for further project development and derisking. The panel included Randel Frazier, Fortune 500 R&D/Chief Technology Officer and board advisor in the medical device sector; Pamela Fuertes, Executive Director of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program at Miami Dade College; Sheryl Greenberg, MIT Corporate Relations Program Director; Christopher Lee, SVP Product and Innovation at ConsumerMedical; Orhun Muratoglu, Director of the Harris Orthopaedic Laboratory, and Director of the Technology Implementation Research Center (TIRC) at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Frances Toneguzzo, Executive VP at Nantkwest, Inc.
Addressing the teams at the opening of the commencement workshop, Elazer Edelman, MD, PhD, Edward J. Poitras Professor in Medical Engineering and Science and Director, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, noted, “IDEA2 projects get more innovative and imaginative each year.”
Participants drew a range of benefits from the program, including help with defining their roadmaps, connections to deep expertise in critical areas, and guidance to understanding technology startup practices and challenges. One participant noted the network was important to them, adding, “the passion! it was great to be with like-minded people that want to help each other.”
Alumni of the program also joined the final workshop to share updates on their courses since their time in IDEA2, and added advice for the current teams. One alumnus from 2019 said, “My vision didn’t change; the way that we executed on it changed. That was the smartest thing we did. Now we have a pretty big opportunity, and I’m really excited about the work we’re doing.”
“I congratulate the teams for their impressive progress this year,” said Martha Gray, PhD, J.W. Kieckhefer Professor of Health Sciences and Technology, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Director of MIT linQ. “We’re proud to welcome this cohort into our ranks of alumni and expanding network of biomedical technology innovators.”
IDEA2, which is hosted by the MIT Institute for Medical and Engineering Sciences (IMES), was a collaboration with Miami Dade College, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, MIT Hacking Medicine, The MGH Medical Innovation Program, IMFAHE, the Veterans Administration, and Boston Landing. Organizers plan to launch a new round of recruiting in spring 2022. To learn more about IDEA2, please visit http://idea2.mit.edu or contact Mercedes Balcells at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IDEA² provides mentoring and connections to biomedical innovators around the world to develop their project ideas and to provide the expertise to realize them. It is especially valuable for trainees, early-stage professionals, and those who have few opportunities in their normal work to participate in innovation projects. More at http://idea2.mit.edu
About MIT linQ
MIT linQ is an initiative based in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Institute for Medical Engineering and Sciences (MIT IMES) to develop a new paradigm for biomedical technology innovation. MIT linQ, part of the MIT Innovation Initiative, unifies a portfolio of international innovation programs focused on improving healthcare through need-driven, interdisciplinary research and training. For more information, visit http://linq.mit.edu