Florida Medical and Dental Device Patenting News

As a Florida patent attorney with an interest in medical and dental device patents, I try to keep an ear to the ground on new patenting and industry developments in Florida that are relevant to my practice of intellectual property law.  The potential increase in Florida’s medical patent and dental patenting activity is one such development.
In a recent post in the BioHealth Investor, Florida is touted as one of the country’s next biotech hubs. According to the article, it all began when the Scripps Research Institute accepted a proposal for $500 million in financing to establish a biotech research hub in the state on the western fringes of Palm Beach County. 

Although Scripps has focused a lot of attention on Florida’s life science industry, there is much to Florida’s medical and dental manufacturing industry that is unrelated to Scripps.

I ran across an interesting article at Southern Business & Development Magazine that compiled some interesting statistics and information regarding Florida’s medical and dental manufacturing industry.  If you have time, I recommend reading the full article on medical device manufacturing.  Relevant portions are reproduced below:

Florida is the recognized leader in the medical devices industry, ranked #2 in the number of FDA registered Medical Device establishments. Aware of its above-average age population, Florida is equipped with a significant health services sector and the research and development to proactively support it. With the recent location of a 350,000 square-foot expansion of The Scripps Research Institute in Florida, and a $30 million investment in three life-science related Centers of Excellence, Florida has demonstrated its future commitment to building a world-class research base. Abundant medical facilities are a complement to the research component by providing testing grounds for medical device development, and 12 Florida universities have technology transfer programs in place to assist in the commercialization of research discoveries.

The College of Engineering at the University of South Florida is one of three programs nationally offering a Graduate Certificate in Regulatory Affairs with an emphasis on medical devices. It has been developed to provide requisite technical skills to professionals in, or anticipating a move, to the medical device industry.

An additional advantage for Florida is the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL), the only facility of its kind in the United States. The NHMFL develops and operates high magnetic field facilities that scientists use for research in bioengineering, biochemistry, materials science, engineering and various other fields.

Already, Florida’s medical device manufacturers are growing at a rate of 2.3 percent annually with over 400 companies already located there. The state has designated biomedical technology a “high impact” industry and qualifying companies are eligible for special incentives.

Success stories in the Florida medical device arena include:

o Medical Education Technologies, (METI) that develops learning tools for the medical profession. Stan – a human patient simulator –speaks, breathes, has a heartbeat and even “dies.” METI has also developed prototypes to simulate children, babies, and even surgical procedures. With technology that was developed at the University of Florida at Gainesville, the company began operations partnering with a Sarasota aerospace company well versed in flight simulations.

o NovaVision specializes in vision restoration therapy (VRT) based on groundbreaking research in neuroplasty. VRT is the first and only FDA-cleared, patented, non-invasive medical device that may restore vision in stroke and traumatic brain injury patients, a condition previously considered untreatable. To date, more than 700 patients have been treated with VRT and clinical results are positive. NovaVision recently secured $12 million in venture capital to help expand the national network of partner clinics offering VRT.

o Arthex Inc has developed and produced more than 2000 products and educational services for surgeons that make surgical procedures easier and safer. One such innovative product is FiberWire ®, used in arthroscopic surgery as an extra-strength suture. Their products are used in more than 60 countries.

In fact, Florida’s medical device industry finds that international markets account for more than one-third of the sector’s revenues. And industry leaders expect more growth in emerging markets.