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Kyriacos A. Athanasiou. The road ahead must forge through research & commercialization Cyprus Entrepreneurship Competition , Nicosia, Cyprus December 17 , 2003. President, Biomedical Engineering Society Professor, Bioengineering, Rice University

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Kyriacos A. Athanasiou

The road ahead must forge through research & commercialization

Cyprus Entrepreneurship Competition, Nicosia, Cyprus

December 17, 2003

President, Biomedical Engineering Society

Professor, Bioengineering, Rice University

Adj. Professor, Orthopaedics, Univ. of Texas Houston

Adj. Professor, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Univ. of Texas Houston

Founder, OsteoBiologics, Inc.

Founder, Xilas Medical, Inc.

Founder, VidaCare, Corp.

Founder, CyTex, Ltd.

  • Traditional technology transfer paradigm (e.g., OsteoBiologics, Xilas, VidaCare, CyTex)
  • A novel approach for commercialization
  • Proposal for establishment of a research institute in Cyprus
technology transfer paradigm modus operandi
Technology transfer paradigmMODUS OPERANDI







VidaCare Corporation

University-based research leads to an emergency care medical company

technology transfer paradigm proposed
Technology transfer paradigmPROPOSED

Development Corporation

Centres of Excellence in Applied Research



New companies

what do i propose
INSTITUTEWhat do I propose?

Centre of Excellence


Development Corporation


the underlying principles
The underlying principles
  • Each centre should be based on the pursuit of applied research with commercializable potential
  • Centres should be created around particular people – not areas
  • The human factor should be the underpinning of this effort
cyprus biomedical institute
Cyprus Biomedical Institute
  • A Centre of Excellence in biomedical research – applied research
  • Along with a Development Corporation for technology commercialization
  • Areas of concentration: Orthopaedic, Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering (orthopaedics and maxillofacial), Cardiovascular, and Diabetes
  • Disclaimer
the institute a highly focused effort
The Institute:A highly focused effort

Examples of new technologies:

  • Biodegradable materials used in orthopaedic applications
  • Regeneration of articular cartilage and the meniscus
  • Devices related to the prevention of diabetes effects on the lower extremity
  • Reduction of blood lipids (e.g., cholesterol and triglycerides)
The Centre of Excellence
  • A traditional, not-for-profit conduit of applied research in few biomedical areas
  • Members as research associates – Centre’s key leaders joint academic appointments
  • Attract outstanding graduate students and fellows from all over the world – primarily from the University of Cyprus
  • Studies: publishable in prestigious, peer-reviewed journals
  • Competitive and vigorous pursuit of research grants
The Development Corporation
  • Business direction; investment fund
  • Evaluation of research results with commercialization in mind
  • Small team (2-3 people) with deep understanding of entire process
  • Clear exit strategy aimed at maximizing returns to investment
  • 5 years: financial benefits, if mature technologies selected
  • Arduous and failure prone process -- one or two success stories… Success breeds success

(President, management team)

Centre of Excellence

non-profit academic organization

Lab 4

Lab 1

Lab 3

Lab 2

Scientific Advisory Board

Board of Directors

Development Corporation

business entity

success criteria
Success criteria
  • Dual mission of Institute:
  • Act as a repository of research projects at the cutting edge of applied biomedicine
    • Few, well-respected, outstanding, pre-selected people
    • Only a few biomedical areas
    • Active laboratories
    • Competitive grants
    • Work presented at international forums
  • Be a financial success
    • Self-sustained
    • One financially and commercially viable company
  • People-centred Institute
  • Focused & sustained effort
  • Applied research in Cyprus recognized to be on par with that of best centres in the world
  • Change perception of Cyprus as lacking innovative, biomedical industry
  • Convince investors that Cyprus is a suitable place for investment in biomedicine
  • Be a financial success
  • Diversification of the Cyprus economy
Funding from:

National Institutes of Health, NHTSA, Binational Science Foundation, Arthritis Foundation, Whitaker Foundation, Industrial sources (Arthrex, OsteoBiologics, DePuy, Nutramax, VidaCare, Xilas)