University of Montana Awarded $4 Million NIH Grant to Establish Biomedical Innovation Hub

University of Montana Awarded $4 Million NIH Grant to Establish Biomedical Innovation Hub

The University of Montana receives a substantial grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish a Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REACH) for biomedical innovation.

The University of Montana (UM) has recently been awarded a four-year, $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish the L.S. Skaggs Institute for Health Innovation–Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub. This hub aims to accelerate the commercialization of biomedical innovation across Montana, Alaska, Idaho, and Wyoming, while also supporting academic innovators in developing medical products that address unmet medical needs nationwide. The grant will facilitate partnerships with various academic institutions and provide training in entrepreneurship and product development. This initiative reflects UM’s commitment to addressing equity in research access and supporting biomedical research within Montana.

Addressing the Challenges of Commercializing Biomedical Innovations

The path to commercializing biomedical innovations can be challenging, particularly in under-resourced areas. Dr. Karen Brown, a co-principal investigator of the grant, emphasizes the need to support academic research and innovation within the region, preventing talented scientists and entrepreneurs from leaving in search of better resources and funding. The establishment of the L.S. Skaggs Institute for Health Innovation–Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (SIHI-REACH) aims to bridge this resource gap and reduce barriers faced by academic innovators. Proof-of-concept funding of up to $100,000 will be available to support innovators in business and product testing activities.

Collaboration and Mentorship for Biomedical Product Development

SIHI-REACH will collaborate with the University of Washington to connect biomedical product development capabilities across the region. This collaboration will leverage the expertise and resources available in the resource-rich center of the Puget Sound. Additionally, academic innovators participating in SIHI-REACH will have access to mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs and inventors, as well as project management support from the hub team members. This comprehensive support system aims to foster a community of early-stage entrepreneurs and build an ecosystem of resources for the region.

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Fostering Biomedical Entrepreneurship in Western Montana

Western Montana is emerging as a biomedical entrepreneurship and innovation corridor. Paul Gladen, UM’s associate vice president of research and economic development and co-investigator of the REACH award, emphasizes the commitment to fostering a community of early-stage entrepreneurs and connecting them to expertise and mentoring. The establishment of the SIHI-REACH hub further solidifies this commitment and aims to attract biotech partners and investors, ultimately growing the biomedical product development sector in the region.

Conclusion:

The University of Montana’s receipt of a $4 million NIH grant to establish the L.S. Skaggs Institute for Health Innovation–Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub is a significant milestone for biomedical innovation in the region. This initiative will not only accelerate the commercialization of biomedical innovations but also support academic researchers and entrepreneurs in bringing their ideas to market. By bridging resource gaps and providing mentorship and funding opportunities, the SIHI-REACH hub aims to create a thriving ecosystem for biomedical product development in Montana, Alaska, Idaho, and Wyoming. This investment in rural and tribal populations reflects the university’s dedication to improving access to healthcare and emerging health innovations.