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Children's National Launches Innovation Partnership with Virginia Tech

By Mandy Roth  
   November 14, 2019

New biomedical research facility will be developed on the health system's Research & Innovation campus; the collaboration is expected to accelerate pediatric healthcare innovations.

As development continues on the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus in Washington, D.C., a new partnership with Virginia Tech will add a 12,000-square-foot biomedical research facility to the complex, along with the potential to expand and accelerate innovations for pediatric healthcare.

The partnership contributes to "an ecosystem that enables us to accelerate the translation of potential breakthrough discoveries into new treatments and technologies,” says Kurt Newman, MD, president and CEO of Children's National, in a news release. “Our clinical expertise combined with Virginia Tech’s leadership in engineering and technology, and its growing emphasis on biomedical research, will be a significant advance in developing much needed treatment and cures to save children’s lives,” says Newman.

Under construction on the former location of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Children's National Research & Innovation Campus is designed to bring together multidisciplinary partners from public and private sectors because "research excels when conducted in a team environment," Mark L. Batshaw, MD, tells HealthLeaders. Batshaw is physician-in-chief and chief academic officer of Children's National Health Systems and director of Children's Research Institute. "The goal," he says, "is to develop new drugs, medical devices, software applications, and other novel treatments and bring them to market faster."

The two institutions already have a strong history of collaboration. Faculty from the Children’s National Research Institute and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech Carilion (VTC) have worked together for more than a decade, resulting in shared research grants, publications, and intellectual property.

"We fully expect that [Virginia Tech's] leadership in high performance computing and engineering, along with our clinical expertise, will yield new technologies and breakthrough ideas that will present opportunities for commercialization in many areas of childhood illness," says Batshaw. In addition, the partnership is expected to lead to joint recruitment of scientists and collaborative research that will "advance innovation faster than either of us could accomplish individually."

Michael Friedlander, PhD, Virginia Tech’s vice president for health sciences and technology and executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC deemed the partnership a "perfect match," specifically citing research synergies in neuroscience and brain cancer research.  

“The expansion and formalization of our partnership with Children’s National is extremely timely and vital for pediatric research innovation and for translating these innovations into practice to prevent, treat, and ultimately cure nervous system cancer in children,” says Friedlander in the release.

Children's National Research & Innovation Campus is scheduled to open its first phase in late 2020. Earlier this year, Children’s National announced a collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC to launch JLABS @ Washington, DC at the Research & Innovation Campus. The JLABS site will be open to pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer and health technology companies aiming to advance the development of new drugs, medical devices, precision diagnostics, and health technologies, including applications in pediatrics.

“The goal is to develop new drugs, medical devices, software applications, and other novel treatments and bring them to market faster.”

Mandy Roth is the innovations editor at HealthLeaders.


Partnership is expected to expand and accelerate pediatric healthcare innovations.

Goal is to develop new drugs, medical devices, software applications, and other novel treatments and bring them to market faster.

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