Technology Advancement Deals

MUSC is Becoming Quite the Hotbed for Innovation

Though the temperatures outside are officially chilly, the innovation ecosystem at MUSC has never been hotter with the execution of nine exclusive technology agreements across a broad range of fields over the past several months by both the MUSC Foundation for Research Development (FRD) and the Zucker Institute for Applied Neurosciences (ZIAN). The FRD serves as a resource for all faculty, staff and students at MUSC who believe they may have an invention or research findings with commercial potential. ZIAN is a technology accelerator embedded within MUSC that works closely with the FRD to develop medical devices that address unmet clinician and patient needs.

Through persistent industry engagement, FRD recently executed a pair of technology development agreements with well-established partners in the telehealth and immuno-oncology fields. A corporate leader in telehealth design, operations, implementation and analysis will continue to work with MUSC Telehealth, one of only two National Telehealth Centers of Excellence in the country, to design a software program that will provide a framework for the telehealth service lifecycle. The Telehealth Service Implementation Model (TSIM), which originated at MUSC, will act as an instruction manual for setting up a successful telehealth system at other health institutions. In immuno-oncology, an experienced clinical stage corporation will explore development of a technology originating out of the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center for an exciting new biologic treatment for cancer with promising potential in “uncloaking” previously resistant tumors.

“FRD has successfully engaged a broad range of companies ranging from established industry partners to MUSC faculty startups, helping to drive the innovation economy in the local area,” said Troy Huth, J.D., Ph.D., associate director for the FRD.

ZIAN has also had some big wins in recent months and has continued to build on its track record of helping MUSC clinicians and scientists to patent, develop and commercialize high-impact medical devices. After closing two more technology deals in July and September, ZIAN has now put six of the seven technologies that the organization has developed – in partnership with MUSC clinicians and scientists – in the hands of industry partners, and they are in advanced partnership discussions for the seventh. ZIAN has also recently “debuted” two new clinician-inspired technologies – one for sacroiliac joint fusion and one for peripheral nerve repair – and has recently closed a deal with a medical device company to develop – from scratch and in partnership with an MUSC clinician – a cutting-edge medical device in the dental space. 

“It is exciting to be a part of the Medical University and its cultural drive and emphasis on innovation.  ZIAN is honored to partner with our innovative staff and students to foster their ideas and move them forward with the human and capital resources we have. We look forward to continued success in creating a sustainable ecosystem at MUSC.” said Mark Semler, chief executive officer at ZIAN. 

Paul Asper, vice president of commercialization at ZIAN added “As an organization, we are really starting to hit our stride in terms of being able to consistently – year-in-and-year-out – develop and commercialize cutting-edge medical technologies that will not only have a big impact on human beings all over the world, but that will be strong commercial successes as well.”  

Not to be outdone by their more established peers, a bevy of startup companies continues to advance MUSC technologies. With FRD support, two MUSC faculty startups recently received NIH small business technology transfer commercialization grants to develop novel approaches for treating liver fibrosis and diagnosing a common disorder associated with failed kidney transplants.  Two additional MUSC-related startups also executed agreements to develop MUSC technology further. The first involves an artificially intelligent chat bot that converses with patients regarding their health conditions while simultaneously gathering useful clinical health information. The second further optimizes a pair of MUSC technologies with potential to enhance the groundbreaking cellular therapies being used to treat previously untreatable cancers.  

Last, but certainly not least, a group of former and current MUSC experts in the pharmacy services and information solutions fields created a company to advance an MUSC technology for optimizing pharmacy spending in real-time.  The newly formed company is already employing the breakthrough technology to significantly reduce pharmacy costs for hospital systems.

“We have a thriving innovation ecosystem here at MUSC, as evidenced by the wide range of technologies that have been translated into the commercial space by FRD and ZIAN, including therapeutics, medical devices and health information technology,” said Huth.

Learn more about the resources provided by the FRD or submit an idea that you think may have commercial potential to or 843-876-1900.

If you are a clinician with an idea for a device that could improve patient care, contact ZIAN at or 843-792-5406.