In 2014, Southern Research and the University of Alabama at Birmingham partnered to form the Alliance for Innovative Medical Technology (AIMTech) – an initiative to develop new medical devices to improve healthcare in the U.S. and around the globe. AIMTech combines the research and discovery expertise of Southern Research scientists and engineers and UAB biomedical engineers and clinicians. Together, we take a patient-centric approach to medical technology development in rehabilitation engineering, orthopedics, trauma, ophthalmology, and cardiology.
Recent Developments (Click for PDF)
Nearly 57 million people in the U.S. have a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Approximately half of them have disabilities that are considered severe. They have difficulty seeing, hearing, walking, or doing everyday tasks.
Disability can strike at any age. The Council for Disability Awareness says that one in eight American workers will be disabled for five years or more during their careers.
When you combine that with the aging population, there’s a significant need to create medical devices that can improve mobility and allow disabled patents the opportunity to lead productive lives.
Orthopedics is the branch of medicine that’s designed to prevent and correct problems that affect your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says musculoskeletal conditions contribute to $849 billion in direct and indirect annual health care costs each year.
Meantime, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that one in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetimes. Hip fractures are a major concern because they lead to chronic pain, reduced mobility, increased dependence on others, and a 20 percent mortality rate in the first 12 months.
Trauma is the No. 1 cause of death for Americans between the ages of one and 44, according to the National Trauma Institute. It accounts for 41 million ER visits and two million hospital admissions a year. The annual economic burden: $406 billion including health care costs and lost productivity. Despite emergency room and trauma teams’ best efforts, 180,000 Americans lose their lives to traumatic injuries.
According to the CDC and the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease – which includes heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure – is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the U.S. It’s a leading cause of disability, and it costs this country more than $300 billion annually in healthcare expenses and lost productivity.
More than 89 million Americans have impaired vision or eye disease, according to Prevent Blindness of America. The total annual economic burden is $139 billion. That covers everything from medical costs to lost productivity.
As the population ages and life expectancy increases, the organization projects that the number of Americans with impaired vision could more than double over the next 30 years.
How To Work With Us
AIMTech, Southern Research’s medical device division, welcomes collaboration opportunities with both academic and industrial partners.AIMTech has a fail-fast approach to developing new technologies, where we quickly assign resources to promising ideas while constantly reviewing scientific and market data. We are always searching for new ideas, as well as collaboration/licensing opportunities. Please contact AIMTech to schedule a discussion.
As part of our on-going partnership with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, we encourage faculty and staff to contact us to discuss their medical device ideas. We can offer advice about, and provide resources for, the commercial, technical, and patent development for your idea.
AIMTech made its first seed investment in August 2013, and since then, a total of nine projects have received seed funding. AIMTech is willing to develop medical technologies in any areas, but we focus on Orthopedics, Trauma, Rehabilitation Engineering, Cardiology, and Ophthalmology. We welcome partnerships with industry, including funded product development collaborations, product evaluations, or full licensing agreements.
Southern Research’s experts can be accessed through consulting arrangements when our input is needed to design studies, provide third-party review of data, conduct due diligence analysis, or provide technical input. We have experts available in medical devices in areas of:
- Biomaterials, such as polymers, resorbables, and biologicals
- Medical coatings and processes, including hydrophilic, hemocompatible, and drug-eluting
- Combination products
- Device design, prototyping, and testing
- Pre-clinical evaluations
Engage Southern Research, and benefit from decades of experience in product development.
Robert W. Hergenrother, Ph.D.Director, Medical Technology Development
Robert W. Hergenrother, Ph.D., leads AIMTech – the medical device development initiative at Southern Research, in collaboration with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, to develop and commercialize medical technologies. He has over 20 years of research, product development and managerial experience in the medical device industry, with a focus on biomaterials development and drug delivery systems. Read Full Bio Here
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