Applications open for first round pediatric pitch event
National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation

Applications open for first round pediatric pitch event

National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation (NCC-PDI) and MedTech Innovator offer pediatric innovators an accelerator track and chance to pitch for up to $250K in awards


The National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation (NCC-PDI), in collaboration with MedTech Innovator, is now accepting applications for its showcase pitch event on March 23, 2020 in College Park, Maryland. The competition is focused on pediatric devices in three areas of critical need: Cardiovascular, orthopedic and spine, and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Up to ten companies selected from this event will move on to the “Make Your Medical Device Pitch for Kids!” on October 4, 2020 in Toronto, Canada to compete for up to $250,000 in grant awards. These companies also receive a spot in the MedTech Innovator 2020 Accelerator – Pediatric Track, which provides a customized curriculum and in-depth mentorship. The goal of the competition and accelerator is to increase the pace of development and commercialization of critically needed pediatric medical devices for the benefit of children everywhere. Applications are currently being accepted until midnight, Eastern Standard Time, on Feb. 15, 2020. Results for the March 2020 NCC-PDI pitch event are announced in late May 2020.

Now in its seventh year, NCC-PDI is led by the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Hospital and the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland. Additional consortium members include accelerators Medtech Innovator and BioHealth Innovation, along with design firm partner Archimedic. NCC-PDI is one of five FDA-funded nonprofit pediatric device consortia focused on facilitating the development, production and distribution of pediatric medical devices.

“While there is a great need for pediatric devices in many specialty areas, the development and commercialization process is very challenging because of the small market size and dynamic characteristics of the patient population,” says Kolaleh Eskandanian, Ph.D., MBA, PMP, vice president and chief innovation officer at Children’s National Hospital and principal investigator of NCC-PDI. “To provide pediatric innovators with greater support in meeting these unique challenges, we must go beyond grant funding, which is why we are collaborating with MedTech Innovator to offer an accelerator program with a pediatric track.”

To date, NCC-PDI has mentored more than 100 medical device sponsors to help advance their pediatric innovations, notes Eskandanian, with six devices having received either their FDA market clearance or CE marking. She says the success of NCC-PDI’s portfolio companies is attributed to funding, mentorship, support from partners, facilitated interactions between device innovators and potential investors, and being discovered during their presentations at the signature “Make Your Medical Device Pitch for Kids!” competitions.

While advancements have been made in some pediatric specialties, there is still a critical need for novel devices in cardiovascular, orthopedic and spine, and NICU areas. On average over the past decade, only 24 percent of life-saving medical devices approved by FDA – those that go through PMA and HDE regulatory pathways – have an indication for pediatric use. Of those, most are designated for children age 12 or older. “Devices designed specifically for the younger pediatric population are vitally needed and, at this early stage of the intervention, can significantly improve developmental outcomes for a child,” Eskandanian says.

“Innovators who choose to specialize in the pediatric market face a unique opportunity to improve quality of life not only for thousands of children, but also for their families and caregivers,” says William E. Bentley, Ph.D., Robert E. Fischell distinguished professor and director of the Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices at the University of Maryland. “We want to help innovators overcome the challenges to achieving this.”

The “Make Your Medical Device Pitch for Kids!” final competition on Oct. 4 in Toronto is part of the 8th Annual Pediatric Device Innovation Symposium, a one-day conference organized and hosted by Children’s National Hospital, that brings together the full spectrum of stakeholders from the public and private sector to examine the progress and the challenges of bringing pediatric medical devices to market and explore new solutions. For innovators, it provides a great opportunity to network with investors, clinical and regulatory experts, medtech executives and others.

“Our expertise at MedTech Innovator is in identifying the most promising medtech startups and helping ensure that transformative technologies successfully reach patients and improve lives, and that’s what we look forward to accomplishing with this cohort of pediatric innovators,” says Paul Grand, CEO of MedTech Innovator, the premier nonprofit accelerator in the medical technology industry. “Our pediatric accelerator track will help innovators address their unique challenges and refine their value propositions, in addition to providing mentoring by key industry leaders and investors.”

Eskandanian says that enhancing access to resources for pediatric innovators is also one of the aims of the Children’s National Research and Innovation Campus, a first-of-its-kind focused on pediatric healthcare innovation, currently under development on the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus in Washington, D.C. With its proximity to federal research institutions and agencies, universities, academic research centers, as well as on site accelerator Johnson and Johnson Innovation – JLABS, the campus will create a rich ecosystem of public and private partners which, like the NCC-PDI network, will help bolster pediatric innovation and commercialization. Opening is scheduled for December 2020.