News & Announcements

Anesthesiology Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship: A Successful Launch and Next Steps

This article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of the ASA Newsletter. You can read the full issue online here.

The Mission of FAER and Innovation
The mission of the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) is “to advance medicine through education and research in anesthesiology.” For a multitude of reasons, FAER recently decided to incorporate education in innovation and entrepreneurism into its portfolio of mission-specific activities.

Successful innovation and creation of new technologies are not only central to maintaining the American way of life but also crucial to advancing medicine and improving clinical outcomes while reducing health care costs. As applied to our specialty, new high-impact innovations are badly needed in several areas (e.g., general anesthetics that selectively alter brain function, new pain medications without addictive properties, etc.) to further enhance the quality of patient care, and highlight to the public and politicians the critical importance of maintaining significant physician involvement in the delivery of anesthesia.

The goal of FAER in this initiative was to provide an educational instrument that helps empower anesthesiologists in key aspects of successful translational research, product development, technology commercialization and entrepreneurism. To begin the process of meeting this objective, the FAER Board of Directors approved the creation of a conference titled the Anesthesiology Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ACIE). The inaugural ACIE program was a one-day, standalone event hosted by FAER on January 18, 2014 in Orlando.

Outcome of ACIE
Given the ACIE 2014 attendance and the results of a post-conference survey of paid registrants and participating faculty members, the ACIE was not only a resounding success but also indicated a voracious appetite among academic and private practice anesthesiologists for future related programming activities. The total attendance for ACIE 2014 was approximately 100.

The one-day ACIE “boot-camp” featured a series of excellent morning plenary sessions delivered by experts that provided education on innovation and entrepreneurship in anesthesiology (Ted Stanley, M.D.), basics of intellectual property (Linda Hansen, J.D.), basics of business presentations and communicating with groups funding technology (Ed Kania, M.B.A.), basics of funding your ideas with entry/exit strategies (Thomas Bigger), and an introduction to new product regulatory planning (Bill Burns). To close the morning sessions, a lively open panel discussion between successful physician anesthesiologist entrepreneurs (Donn Dennis, M.D., FAHA, Richard Melker, M.D., Steve Shafer, M.D., Ted Stanley, M.D., Warren Zapol, M.D.), the audience, and the moderator, Denham S. Ward, M.D., Ph.D., ensued.

During lunch, Joe Kiani (founder, chair and CEO of Masimo) gave a rousing keynote presentation titled “Innovating (and Innovating Again)” that described how he founded Masimo, and literally developed it from the “home garage setting” into a technological patient monitoring powerhouse with a $1.4 billion market cap.

In the afternoon, participants attended two of six workshops where they put their foundational knowledge to use during hands-on, interactive, small-group discussions. The six workshops included: 1) R&D Relationships with the Medical Device Industry: Valuation, Validation and Commercialization (Bruce Gingles, Steve Shafer, M.D.); 2) Opportunities & Challenges of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant Funding (Donn Dennis, M.D., FAHA, Tim Morey, M.D.); 3) Patent Law: What Every Anesthesiologist Should Know (Kirk Hogan, M.D., J.D., Richard Melker, M.D.); 4) Regulatory Pathways: Drugs and Devices (April Lavender, James McLeod, M.D.); 5) Starting and Building a High Value Company: Entry & Exit Strategies (Brian Cummings); and 6) Role of Academic Investigators and Centers in Translational Research: IP, Licensing and COI (Evan Kharasch, M.D., Ph.D., Jane Muir, RTTP, Nikki Zapol, J.D.).

The day concluded with an outstanding inspirational keynote presentation titled “Inhaled Nitric Oxide: A Successful IP-to-Drug Journey” by Warren Zapol, M.D., emeritus Anesthetist-in-Chief at Massachusetts General Hospital and current director of the MGH Anesthesia Center for Critical Care Research. He described his seminal “bench to bedside” work in developing nitric oxide as an effective therapeutic agent to treat pulmonary hypertension. Of special note, by saving the lives of thousands of neonates around the world, the profound beneficial impact of Dr. Zapol’s efforts to bring nitric oxide to market on the lives of these babies and their families was beautifully illustrated.

You can download the ACIE presentations free of charge at

Future of ACIE – Your Input Requested
After the successful launch of the inaugural ACIE program, a number of different avenues exist to further the education of anesthesiologists in innovation, entrepreneurism and successful product development.

As we plan future activities, we want to hear from you! To facilitate your input, FAER has created a survey, available via, where you can provide your ideas to us on next best steps. Consider the pros and cons of potential future program topics/elements such as creating a mentoring network (matches anesthesiologist to experienced physician entrepreneurs), a mechanism to assist with IP and patent filings, new ACIE-like conferences (frequency? location? adjacent to national meetings? standalone?), forums for anesthesiologists to hone their business pitches, a network where tech providers (anesthesiologists with ideas and intellectual property) are matched to technology seekers (corporations seeking ideas and IP), and online webinars. Please tell us what we can do to best help you – the anesthesiologist innovator and entrepreneur – effectively pursue the development of your technology.

In closing, I would like to thank three groups for their tireless support in making the 2014 ACIE a reality:

  • The FAER Board of Directors for approving the program.
  • My colleagues on the ACIE Planning Committee: Bruce Gingles, Cook Medical, Inc; Evan Kharasch, MD, PhD, Washington University in St. Louis; Ted Stanley, MD, Upstart Ventures and University of Utah; Denham Ward, MD, PhD, ACIE Co-Chair, President, FAER; and Jim Zaidan, MD, MBA, Emory University; and to FAER staff members – Sara Lueders, Ginger Smith and David Wolfson for their time and assistance in assembling the program.
  • Our corporate sponsors for their generous financial support of the program: Cook Medical, Masimo, Dräger, Piramal Healthcare and Baxter.