Having institutional excellence at the core is key to creation of a successful knowledge community such as the Innovation Quarter.
The Innovation Quarter’s track record of turning scientific hypothesis into commercially marketable concepts has centered on emerging growth areas such as regenerative medicine, medical devices, nanomedicine, biomedical engineering and neuroscience.
There are many groups in the Innovation Quarter and the community at large that are interested in forming partnerships for discovery and commercialization. These groups include Wake Forest Innovations, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Wake Forest University and other community partners.
Partnering with Wake Forest Innovations
Wake Forest Innovations improves health through collaborative innovation between industry and the faculty and staff of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. We accomplish this through our three centers: the Center for Technology Innovation & Commercialization, which accelerates the development and commercialization of inventions; the Center for Industry Research Collaboration, which expedites access to specialized clinical and research capabilities; and the Center for Applied Learning, which promotes best clinical practices through experiential training.
Wake Forest Innovations
Partnering with Wake Forest School of Medicine
The Innovation Quarter differentiates itself from other research parks in many ways, including its capabilities in biomedical engineering. The Virginia Tech—Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering & Sciences (SBES), engages the strengths of Wake Forest School of Medicine, the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech and the VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. The SBES program specializes in biomechanics, cell and tissue engineering, biomedical imaging and medical physics. Graduates of this program help provide the Innovation Quarter with a highly skilled workforce, experienced in advanced clinical practice and progressive biomedical research. Access to this skilled and experienced workforce is an asset to companies operating in the Innovation Quarter.
The Innovation Quarter benefits from access to specialized equipment that is part of the Center for Biomolecular Imaging (CBI) at Wake Forest School of Medicine. CBI advances clinical and basic sciences research with the best in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) technology dedicated to animal and human research. Expanded scanning capabilities located at the Innovation Quarter support preclinical research studies.
CBI develops software using integrated imaging techniques and goes beyond imaging the anatomy to capturing physiologic (functioning) and molecular imaging. This better equips advanced research activities in areas such as cancer, brain disorders and heart disease. Various imaging modalities provide valuable data in the investigation of disease to ensure the best remedy and course of action.
Clinical Trial Design & Oversight
Expertise abounds in clinical trial design and oversight, something that might be expected in a city that boasts a large community hospital in addition to an academic medical center.
At the Innovation Quarter, advancements in science support clinical trials sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, the National Institutes of Health, including the National Cancer Institute, and others. Investigators at the Innovation Quarter are involved in all phases of clinical trials. Proven experience can be found in our highly trained workforce at more than two dozen local clinical centers. Leading-edge information technology with a strong commitment to ethics and accuracy of data for each phase of a clinical trial enables productive collaboration among researchers.
The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is an international leader in the translation of scientific discovery to clinical therapies. Its scientists created the world’s first laboratory-engineered organ, bladder tissue that has been successfully implanted in children and adults. Today, this groundbreaking team is applying its expertise to engineer more than 30 different organs and tissues in the laboratory.
The Institute, the largest freestanding facility in the world dedicated to regenerative medicine, also focuses on cellular therapies using a non-controversial type of stem cell researchers discovered to develop treatments for diabetes, heart disease and other maladies.
Once a new technology has been thoroughly tested and is ready for clinical studies, the Institute is equipped for efficient translation from the bench to the bedside. A cGMP facility, which manufactures replacement tissues and organs under guidelines of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ensures that a reproducible process is in place. And when the technology is ready to be licensed to a company that can commercialize it for widespread use, the Institute has developed a first-of-its-kind regenerative medicine “accelerator” to create companies and develop partnerships to hasten the delivery of the technology to patients.
Partnering with Wake Forest University
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Wake Forest University are committed to realizing the Innovation Quarter’s goal of expanding the exchange of ideas and partnerships among university and business. Here are some of the major ways we form partnerships with business, share ideas and promote entrepreneurship:
Angell Center for Entrepreneurship
This center within Wake Forest University Schools of Business unites the talents of entrepreneurs, students and faculty as stewards in the pursuit of excellence within entrepreneurial outreach, curriculum and research. The Center for Entrepreneurship can help your business grow and prosper, whether you are starting a venture, exploring new horizons for an established, mid-sized firm or looking for ways to strengthen a family business. Within the center is the Demon Incubator, whose mission is to foster entrepreneurial education at Wake Forest and an entrepreneurial spirit in the Triad by providing personalized services and relationships to growth-oriented, early stage ventures. The incubator offers resident and non-resident programs for early stage, potential high growth businesses. It houses three to six resident clients. Clients are admitted on a rolling basis throughout the year. The goal of the incubator is to launch businesses that have the potential to create significant economic impact in the Triad through jobs and business investment.
A partnership between the Angell Center for Entrepreneurship and Wake Forest Innovations, this free monthly meeting—held the last Tuesday of every month at 7:30 a.m. at Wake Forest Biotech Place—features guests discussing topics of interest to nascent entrepreneurs and service providers.
The Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials at Wake Forest University is a highly interactive center seeking to build upon its research in areas such as alternative energy, biomedical nanotechnologies and novel nanomaterials. Its director, David Carroll, PhD, and his research team are expanding their scope of work into the fields of biomedical nanotechnologies known as nanomedicine.
Nanomedicine seeks to monitor, repair, construct and control human biological systems at the molecular level, using engineered nanodevices and nanostructures. Research is this area has developed new approaches in areas such as regenerative medicine with a bioprinting program, cancer therapies with nanotubes, trauma with micron-sized pressure sensors, and orthopaedics to better understand bacterial infections.
The Center operates in three different locations, with the largest research facility just minutes from Innovation Quarter. The Center offers access to equipment, academia and industry, providing a unique environment to advance the commercialization of ideas.
Companies can work with the Center through joint ventures, grants, and have access to on-site training opportunities with researchers. Such collaborations already exist with the Innovation Quarter companies currently developing new forms of illumination and devices.
Partnering with Others
The North Carolina BioNetwork Pharmaceutical Center (one of six biotechnology-related centers) has expanded its reach to serve the life science industries in such areas as pharmaceuticals, bioprocessing, regenerative medicine, nanobiotechnology, vaccine, medical device, herbal/botanical, dietary supplements, regulatory and clinical research.
Located in the Innovation Quarter, the BioNetwork Pharmaceutical Center provides consultation and training for companies and services to North Carolina community colleges, including job coaching and educational guidance. Its newly created BioNetwork Analytical Center, which will adjoin the Pharmaceutical Center, is a state-of-the-art resource with analytical testing equipment outfitted with current and emerging technologies.
This new Analytical Center has virtual learning technology that uses digital interactive simulation and modeling to precisely mirror an industrial or laboratory setting and equipment. Using these tools, students receive virtual hands-on training while they navigate the modeled environment, manipulate controls, follow procedures, and troubleshoot programmed faults and failures. This initiative will also feature distance learning systems.
Individuals and companies can benefit from the BioNetwork Pharmaceutical Center’s certification and equipment in mechanical aptitude testing with future plans to become certified and equipped for electrical and PLC (Programmable Logic Control) skills testing. The BioNetwork Pharmaceutical Center is a statewide resource promoting workforce development in North Carolina.