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CIMIT – Crossing the Chasm from Academia to Medical Innovation An Interview with Prof. Steven Schachter


医学与创新技术融合中心(CIMIT)——连接学术界与医学创新的鸿沟 The healthcare field is facing major crises, including the aging of the population, the need to increase access for all to the best standard of care, and societal imperatives to contain healthcare-related costs. Unfortunately, there are many challenges to innovation in this domain, where researchers tend to work in siloed laboratories, without the entrepreneurial acumen and collaborative paradigms needed to implement their ideas.

CIMIT, the Consortia for Improving Medicine with Innovation and Technology, is a Boston-based cooperation of universities and hospitals founded in 1998 by the Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, MIT, and the Draper Laboratories, with a mission to improve patient care. As of 2015, CIMIT has generated 458 patents, 2,293 peer-reviewed publications, and invested US$55 million in 228 solutions, which have received US$1.1 billion in follow-on funding from commercial companies and other entities.

Prof. Steven Schachter, the Chief Academic Officer of CIMIT, who spoke at the CIV Deep Innovation workshop, explains in an interview, “The early focus was on minimally invasive surgery, but since then we’ve not only grown in terms of the application to all fields of medicine, but also we’ve expanded our members now to thirteen Boston and Cambridge area institutions.”

CIMIT has funded over six-hundred projects over the years in a variety of areas, and their biggest concentration currently is neuroscience. Schachter adds, “About a third of the projects we funded are either in clinical stage development or actually in patient use.” This is a substantial percentage considering that CIMIT tends to invest at a very high-risk early stage.

Prof. Schachter further elaborated on the CIMIT case study in an article published in CVR Issue 3 (read the article).

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