By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – A diverse group of more than 40 entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, university researchers, lawyers and CEOs – all members of an emerging Rhode Island med tech industry community – gathered Wednesday evening to discuss strategies to enhance connectivity and collaboration.
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.
The group’s initial goal is to create an organization that can build out a strong, Rhode Island-based med tech ecosystem, according to an email sent by Lane to participants.
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.
Among the categories envisioned for the med tech group’s members are biotech, pharmaceuticals, devices, diagnostics, algorithms and related technologies and services.
From initial discussions, the industry-led group will seek to create a support structure that can help any company get to the next level, identifying that growth is good at all stages and not just startups, according to Lane.
The dialogue at Wednesday’s meeting had all the features of a creative session for a client with a new product, as the group shared ideas for vision, mission, communications strategy and organizational structure.
Denice Spero, co-director of the Institute for Immunology and Informatics at the University of Rhode Island, who is working to develop a parallel industry group, the Rhode Island BioScience Leaders, said she was enthused by the group’s conversations and the industry-focused approach.
Andrew Mallon, CEO of Calista Therapeutics, a startup company developing inhaled peptide therapeutics to treat cystic fibrosis, said that one of the best features of the group was the ability to interact face-to-face with others working in the sector, breaking out of the silos.
Margaret “Peggy” Farrell, co-chair of the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition and a partner at Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP, shared her ideas in a break-out session focused on the group’s potential future structure, emphasizing the need to have a workable legal framework to more forward.
The next session of the group will be held in February, according to Lane.