Manufacturing Medical Advancements: Making the Best Better
Rhode Island is an incubator for medical advancements, innovations in medical technology and health care delivery systems. Industry giant CVS Health and academic leaders like the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University and the University of Rhode Island School of Pharmacy anchor Rhode Island squarely at the intersection of learning and discovery in the field of medicine.
In this environment of thought leadership and innovation, a new sector is emerging: companies that specialize in seeking ways to innovate and make medical advancements happen.
Vaccines were the greatest public health advancement of the 20th century, driving down rates of infectious disease and saving millions of lives from vaccine-preventable illnesses. As we look to vaccines to prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and new strains of flu, we look to a company like EpiVax to lead the way.
Located in Providence, EpiVax is an immunology company that has developed comprehensive analytical capabilities in the field of computational immunology. What does that mean? EpiVax uses their analytical tools to make existing vaccines more effective, and new vaccines faster. They are designing new vaccines for the public health challenges that lie ahead, including infectious diseases, cancer and bioterror threats.
“This is an exciting time to be in Rhode Island,” EpiVax Founder, CEO & CSO, Anne S. De Groot, M.D. “The interest and investment in advancing medicine through areas like biotextiles, medical devices and vaccine design has created a community of scientists and innovators in a very concentrated area.”
Just a few miles away, Ximedica, founded by RISD graduates, Stephen Lane and Aidan Petrie, is a product development firm with an exclusive focus on medical products. With more than 25 years of experience developing medical devices, combination products and consumer healthcare products Ximedica’s client base spans the globe and ranges from start-ups to the world's largest equipment manufacturers.
“Changes in our industry from health care reform to global economics to heightened scrutiny from the FDA are helping nimble innovators change the medical device industry – and Rhode Island is at the center of it,” Lane noted. “New England has the richest community of medical device companies and support infrastructure in the country. The device community here is made up of many companies that have transformed themselves from serving industrial or defense markets. We are working hard today to collaborate more often and more deliberately.”
Alexion, a global biopharmaceutical company that combines groundbreaking science with a steadfast commitment to meeting the needs of patients living with severe, life-threatening and ultra-rare diseases, has also made a home in Rhode Island.
With a manufacturing plant in Smithfield, Alexion has been able to take advantage of the “small town” feel of Rhode Island’s government and business community. Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Vikas Sinha noted, “since establishing our manufacturing footprint in Smithfield, Rhode Island in 2006 we have undergone tremendous growth. The leadership, guidance, and flexibility of Commerce RI has been invaluable and important to our success.”