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New lobby pushes for 'Medical Innovation Czar'

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | September 08, 2010
New lobby in town.
Venture capitalists and the life science companies they fund have teamed up to launch a new lobby to clear away regulatory hurdles for medical products.

The National Venture Capital Association, a VC lobby, said Wednesday morning it had launched a medical product-focused offshoot, Medical Innovation and Competitiveness Coalition, or MedIC. Membership in the new lobby is open to VCs and life science companies fueled by VC-money.

"Foreign governments are doing all that they can to bring innovators to their shores," the group said on its website. "We need to do the same here in the U.S or risk losing our pre-eminence as the global medical innovation leader."

The group said its main aim is "improving the FDA approval and reimbursement process for novel therapies and technologies." To do this, they said they'll lobby for a "Medical Innovation Czar" to oversee medical product generation, as well as a new task force in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create a fast-track approval process for devices, diagnostics and other products. The group also wants to improve the quality and staffing within the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

Dr. Beth Seidenberg, a partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, will chair the coalition. KPCB's portfolio includes over a dozen start-up medical device companies, such as NeuroPace, which is developing a neurostimulation tool for epilepsy, and Voyage Medical, which is designing a new catheter system.