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Development partners offer value through experience

Ryan Amin

Partnerships in innovation development phases can offer a wide range of benefits in the healthcare industry where experience can simplify complex processes.

Dr. Gregory Czarnota, the chief of radiation oncology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and Ryerson University professor Michael Kolios invented WaveCheck to detect the effectiveness of chemotherapy for individuals in a shorter period of time.

WaveCheck is a noninvasive device that uses ultrasound technology to provide treatment insight as early as four weeks compared to the usual three months. Even though the product provides multiple benefits for patients and doctors, disruptive innovations have complex paths for entrepreneurs.

"Commercial developers can have a lot of reach in the healthcare space," said Dr. Czarnota. "They have experience with different target markets, granting agencies and research teams."

MaRS Innovation is WaveCheck's commercial developer and was chosen because of its expertise in medical devices and life science innovations. For disruptive technologies, proper data and research are extremely important to show effectiveness. Commercial developers can provide funding for clinical trials as well as discover other sources of research funding.

"Commercial developers can give access to other industry partners that can assist with funding, intellectual property regulations, software developers and more experienced organizations," said Dr. Czarnota.

WaveCheck is still conducting further studies, but Dr. Czarnota said once they are ready to go to market, experienced commercial developers can help strategize business plans with knowledge of the marketplace.

Other insights from Dr. Czarnota:

Don't shy away from criticism - "It's common for disruptive innovations to have doubters," said Dr. Czarnota. "We used it as motivation to develop changes and got other doctors to support us."

Use doctor perspective for big ideas - "If you are going to invent something, it might as well be something to solve a big problem that will help in a common-sense way," said Dr. Czarnota about doctors getting involved in entrepreneurship. "There are a lot of interesting things that are out there, but in the grand scheme, few help serious issues."

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