Mark McJunkin is the Director of Operations at Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) in Atlanta. A passionate creator and designer, he helps people rapidly develop medical device prototypes at the GCMI facilities. GCMI is an independent, non-profit organization that is a comprehensive medical device innovation center. A collaboration between universities, research centers, clinicians, established device companies, investors, and early-stage companies, GCMI has a focus on accelerating the widespread use of innovative medical technology. It consists of a 12,000 square foot prototyping design and development facility that offers design, engineering, rapid prototyping, full machine-shop capabilities and cleanrooms. We took the chance to speak with Mr McJunkin about what GCMI is up to and how it helps inventors and others develop new medical devices.
Tom Fowler, Medgadget: How was the transition from being an instructor at the Georgia Institute of Technology to running operations at GCMI?
Mark McJunkin: The transition has been one of personal and professional growth. I worked for many years teaching at Tech part time while I was also working in Industry. When the opportunity arose to grow an Industrial strength offering, with the talent I met while instructing; I knew it was something I could not pass up.
Medgadget: What makes GCMI unique in the competitive world of medical device development?
Mark McJunkin: We have the network, inhouse tools, and expertise to follow through for our customers. After 20 years of design consulting I began to see a pattern with my best customers. They were in control of their manufacturing. This is what led me away from the desk and onto the shop floor.
Medgadget: Say I have a concept of a revolutionary design for a new hemostat . Walk me through the process of working with GCMI to turn the concept into reality.
Mark McJunkin: First you would meet with Tiffany Karp to discuss the commercial viability of your concept. We then hold a technical meeting with our engineers. As you are starting with a concept, we would need to begin with a “Cloud Forming” session, wherein we would work collaboratively to build project cloud categories. We might arrive at definitions such as “regulatory”, “similar devices”, “device differentiation”, and “design for manufacturing”. We also require a strong engineering foundation by properly defining constraints and requirements for a potential new device. I believe that understanding the problem to be solved is far more valuable than solving problems quickly. We have a distinct culture of innovation at GCMI that takes some coaching. It is a very intense environment that values showing real progress to a customer with every communication. By the end of your project, you would most likely see a minimum of seven prototypical iterations and will personally spend many hours collaborating with our team.
Medgadget: Do you have any advice for medical device entrepreneurs that are just beginning to get their feet wet?
Mark McJunkin: Build a world class team and trust them 100%. Medical Devices are highly regulated. Taking on the many facets of the pathway to market alone is not advisable. This is why GCMI exists.
Medgadget: What do you think the next biggest frontier is in the world of medical devices?
Mark McJunkin: At the crossroads of biology, electronics and communication. This comment is inspired by the book the Ghost Map by Steven Johnson.
Medgadget: If I gave you $1 billion to develop a medical device, what would you create?
Mark McJunkin: A bicycle…… well, maybe more than one.
Want to learn more about deveoping your medical device at GCMI? Find out more at their website: Global Center for Medical Innovation…