Rochester’s medical community: Great power, great responsibility

Shruthi Naik, PhD, Blog Author

The amount of brainpower concentrated within the Rochester area is staggering. Mayo Clinic’s remarkable achievements in delivering exemplary patient care have been heralded as a model to the country and the world. What is perhaps less known are the armies of scientists: biologists, chemists, engineers, statisticians, all dedicated to developing ideas that change the way we look at, understand, and treat disease.

Turning these ideas into reality, into companies and products that improve patient care, should be a key focus of DMC’s Commercial Research and technology initiative. It is our responsibility as a medical community to further innovations that improve patient care and these innovations in turn will build the local economy, create jobs and contribute to the DMC vision of making Rochester and Minnesota a Global center for healthcare.

“Easier said then done” is putting it lightly when it comes to describing the process of turning ideas into reality, especially in the area of biotechnology where product development is expensive, highly-regulated, and capital-intensive. Development of technologies to improve treatment of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other major diseases is imperative, and while we have the best minds in the world working to develop solutions, the transition of these technologies to patients remains arduous. Critical resources that I hope are part of DMC’s commercial research and technology initiative include improved access to commercial lab space, funding for early stage companies, and the legal, financial, clinical and regulatory expertise needed to facilitate this process.

I am excited about the ability to realistically build companies and develop groundbreaking new technologies in Rochester. There is an increasing awareness of the existing hurdles, a willingness to address them, and an emphasis on developing the resources and people needed to overcome them. To borrow a corny but appropriate superhero adage, the DMC vision highlights our great power, our innovative and dynamic community, and our great responsibility, to take on the challenge of applying these technologies to benefit Rochester and the lives of people worldwide.

Shruthi Naik, PhD, is a research fellow at Mayo Clinic and co-founder of Omnis Pharma, a biotech company dedicated to transforming cancer therapy through innovation.