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BU, Fraunhofer Form Medical Device Alliance
Nov 2006
BOSTON, Nov. 7, 2006 -- Boston University and its College of Engineering announced they are partnering with the German research and development organization Fraunhofer Gesellschaft to create the Boston University-Fraunhofer Alliance for Medical Devices, Instrumentation and Diagnostics. BU and Munich-based Fraunhofer are jointly funding the five-year, $5 million initiative to develop new medical technologies.

BU and Fraunhofer said the partnership will accelerate the transition of advanced biomedical research into products that can be manufactured and used in clinical applications. The alliance will leverage the most promising research innovations in labs throughout BU, particularly in its College of Engineering, said Andre Sharon, a BU engineering professor and director of the BU-based Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation.

Fraunhofer Gesellschaft is active in biomedical research, with its current activities including plant-based vaccine development, medical imaging, array-based diagnostics, surgical microtools development, and other novel devices and instrumentation.

Advanced biomedical engineering research being conducted throughout BU's College of Engineering, College of Arts and Sciences and Medical School generally proceeds to the laboratory bench level. Fraunhofer said it hopes to take the research and convert it into working medical devices and instruments that can be licensed to existing companies or created by new spinoff ventures.

The alliance is expected to use another recently funded initiative as a wellspring. Last year, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation awarded BU a $4.9 million grant to enhance collaboration between researchers in biomedical engineering and clinicians and researchers at the BU Medical School. The Coulter program shares the goal of accelerating translation of biomedical innovations to patient care.

Among the promising innovations under consideration for initial support by the alliance are efforts to create disposable diagnostic chips that can detect disease at the molecular level, an optically guided colon cancer detection and treatment system and an array-based medical diagnostic tool.

The Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation was established at Boston University in 1994. Working with BU faculty, students and international interns, the center converts basic research into advanced industrial technologies for clients.

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