$20 million grant will support medical devices research in Wichita
May 19, 2009 2:55 PM | Print

Three years of effort by Via Christi Health System and Wichita State University researchers resulted Tuesday in the award of a one-year, $4 million grant that should extend to a five-year, $20 million grant to support the Center of Innovation for Biomaterials in Orthopaedic Research (CIBOR) in Wichita.

The grant from the Kansas Bioscience Authority to Via Christi and its partners will fund the development and commercialization of medical devices using the kinds of advanced composite materials already used by Wichita aviation manufacturers.

The grant is based on composites research developed by Via Christi Regional Medical Center through its Orthopaedic Research Institute and WSU through its National Institute for Aviation Research.

CIBOR's goals include:

  • Rapid job creation to help the local and Kansas economies.
  • Development of medical devices that can be quickly brought to market, such as surgical instruments, stretchers and operating tables that do not require a long FDA-approval process.
  • Longer-term development of advanced implantable devices, such as artificial hips and knees.

"We are extremely excited about receiving funding for this unprecedented partnership among health care, aviation and research," said Michalene D. Maringer, president and CEO of the Via Christi Wichita Health Network. "It involves health care, as orthopaedic surgeons will be implanting the devices; aviation, as the composite materials that have worked so well in that industry will be used to make the implants; and the scientists from both industries, as they will be developing the techniques needed to grow new bone cells in the composite structures.

"Working with WSU and others," Maringer said, "we have the opportunity to revolutionize the quality of life for patients worldwide who need orthopaedic implants and at the same time provide an economic development platform that will serve our community here in Wichita for years to come."

Don Beggs
Don Beggs
Wichita State President Don Beggs said: "This achievement is a product of extraordinary teamwork between WSU and Via Christi and our partners at Kansas State, Pittsburg State, the Greater Wichita Economic Development Council and in the medical device industry. We believe that this will have a very significant positive impact on the Kansas economy."

Gary L. Miller, WSU provost and vice president for academic affairs and research, said: "The CIBOR is a clear win for Kansas and a national model for how university-industry partnerships can leverage translational and applied research for significant economic impact. We are extremely proud to be a part of this unique collaboration for Kansas."

Vicki Pratt Gerbino, president of GWEDC, said, "This is exactly the sort of transformative business development initiative we've been promoting for this region. CIBOR's efforts combine medical research with the composites expertise in this community and our skilled work force to introduce an entirely new product line – an absolute necessity for the long-term economic growth of this region."

The Kansas Bioscience Authority's decision to fund the grant was made unanimously by its board of directors, who were meeting in Atlanta in conjunction with the 2009 Bio International Conference.

The KBA meeting was attended by J. David McDonald, associate provost for research; Dr. Paul Wooley, research director of the Via Christi Orthopaedic Research Institute; and Michael Good, Via Christi director of research business operations.

Wooley, who is also a WSU professor, will lead CIBOR's research efforts.

"KBA's grant recognizes the value of composites in new medical devices and should lead to a significant new industry for Kansas," Wooley said. "The detailed and stringent KBA review process helped us create a plan to position Wichita as a world center of innovative medical device research and manufacturing."

McDonald said, "KBA board members were enthusiastic about the potential of this effort for job creation and product development. Our CIBOR team is very excited about this support from KBA and we're eager to turn our attention to implementation."

Created on May 19, 2009 2:55 PM; Last modified on May 21, 2009 1:46 PM
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