The Fraunhofer USA Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI), a developer of next-generation instruments and automation systems for the biotech/biomedical, photonics and semiconductor industries, has partnered with Boston University (BU) to accelerate the process of bringing medical innovations from the laboratory to patients. The partnership, called the Boston University-Fraunhofer Alliance for Medical Devices, Instrumentation and Diagnostics, links CMI engineers to BU biomedical researchers, who will in turn work with doctors at area hospitals and clinics. The alliance has already developed a new automated manufacturing system for DNA arrays. Both Fraunhofer and BU have agreed to provide $5 million to fund the alliance for the next five years; after 2012, the teams are expected to be self-supporting. Any revenues and license-fee earnings will be shared between Fraunhofer and BU. The research teams intend to jointly conduct at least two projects a year, with the goal of developing at least two product prototypes that will be commercialized either by a spinoff company or through a licensing agreement. An inaugural colloquium, "Efficient Deployment of Medical Innovations" was to be held today in Boston, during which engineers and scientists from Fraunhofer and BU were to meet with entrepreneurs, corporate executives, venture capitalists, and government officials.