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$14.9 million federal grant to allow for further innovation of medical devices

photo courtesy of Fleep Tuque CC

The University of Ottawa recently announced that Ottawa has been chosen by the federal government to become the country’s leading authority in medical device commercialization.

The university’s Medical Devices Commercialization Centre (MDCC) will receive $14.9 million for further development and commercialization of medical devices.

The term applies to any tool used in healthcare, explained Tofy Mussivand, a surgery and engineering professor at the U of O, as well as director of the university’s Medical Devices Innovation Institute and the cardiological devices division of the Heart Institute.

“Your dental implant is a medical device. So is your pacemaker, your MRI machine, your wheelchair, your thermometer,” said Mussivand, a 25-year veteran in medical engineering.

“They are essential to healthcare, needed by all of us at some time. They save lives and reduce suffering and pain.”

They also offer significant economic benefits such as “sustained market growth, economic diversification, employment expansion and global export markets,” according to a 2011 National Research Council report.

Mussivand believes this grant will help the U of O tap into that $327.7 billion global market.

“The global market is growing very fast and Canada could have more exports for medical exports than any other sector,” he said.

A 2013 Industry Canada report listed the Canadian medical device market as the ninth largest in the world.

The MDCC has more than 600 partners across Canada, and a support system at the U of O that includes faculty members from engineering, medicine, science, and law.

The centre began applying for grants this time last year. The government awarded the investment through a granting competition launched by the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research, a program which aims to bridge the gap between innovation and commercialization, offering funding on a competitive basis.

“Support is needed to ensure that the result benefits all Canadian patients,” said Mussivand.

The MDCC will focus on the development and marketing of reliable medical devices, which Mussivand hopes will “reduce cost, improve healthcare… create jobs and economic activities, and bring investments to Canada.”