How to Turn Your Smart Idea Into a Bankable Invention

Paul Cerrato, MA

Disclosures

December 11, 2013

In This Article

Finding Investors, Jumping Regulatory Hurdles

With a provisional patent application in place, the next logical question to ask is, "Where do I find investors?" Of course, there's the traditional route: Reach out to venture capital companies. But Khaliq also suggests crowdfunding as a viable option for a solo practitioner looking to develop a relatively inexpensive project. "Crowdfunding" refers to obtaining the needed capital to launch a project by raising small amounts of money from a very large number of interested contributors, typically through the Internet.

Kickstarter is probably the best-known crowdfunding organization, but there are also groups that specialize in healthcare, including B-a-MedFounder, cofounded by Daniel Yachia, MD. Yachia is a professor of urology at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, and holds several medical device patents himself.[5]

So-called "angel investors" are a third option. If you can find an affluent individual who believes in the potential of your device or software, this is certainly worth considering. Gopal Chopra, MD, has been successfully getting his mobile app to market by recruiting angels and investing some of his own money. Chopra, a neurosurgeon, recently launched PingMD, which offers a HIPAA-compliant secure messaging system for clinicians and patients.[6]

If, like Chopra, your inventive skills lean toward medical apps, keep in mind that the FDA recently released guidelines to help inventors determine whether their invention requires the agency's approval. The new guidelines specify that if an app is intended "to be used as an accessory to a regulated medical device -- for example, an application that allows a health care professional to make a specific diagnosis by viewing a medical image from a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) on a smartphone or a mobile tablet," it requires FDA approval. Similarly, when a mobile platform is transformed into a "regulated medical device -- for example, an application that turns a smartphone into an electrocardiography (ECG) machine to detect abnormal heart rhythms or determine if a patient is experiencing a heart attack" -- the FDA has to get involved.[7]

Bringing a medical invention to market can be a challenge. But if you have a true solution to a problem, it's worth it to see whether you can make your concept a reality.

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