Two years ago, Greenville Health System (GHS) examined whether it needed a research corporation and if it should be involved in economic development from that standpoint, said Sam Konduros, director of the GHS Research Development Corporation.
Since the health system is the largest employer in Greenville County, it already had an impact. The system wanted to continue its mission of improving the health of the region, and decided that in addition to treating patients, one of the best ways to do that is to improve socioeconomic factors in the area, he said.
In the past, multiple clinicians in the system were pitching ideas without “the infrastructure or support to help bring them to the market,” said Konduros. GHS’ Research Development Corp. is a nonprofit and had already licensed multiple new technologies.
In addition to assisting in economic development that would keep with the system’s mission of improving the health of the region, the RDC’s role is also to help clinicians and researchers navigate the process of getting product out of the lab and out to benefit a patient.
Konduros anticipates up to 15 percent of GHS clinicians will be involved in inventing solutions to healthcare challenges at any given time. Going forward, 40-50 invention disclosures generated by GHS clinicians could translate into 10-15 licenses that can generate royalty streams and one or two spinoff companies annually, he said.
Getting technology to market is a long process, however: five to seven years for royalties (revenue streams back to GHS and its inventors) to result from the development and approval of medical devices, and up to 15 years for royalties to result from the development and approval of pharmaceuticals.