El Paso, Texas – The Medical Center of the Americas Foundation Innovation Center (MCA) is excited to announce that it was awarded a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce for the 2021 SPRINT challenge. The Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge is awarded to organizations that demonstrate alignment with their region's economic development priorities and address the economic, health, and safety risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic through entrepreneurship and innovation. The MCA was one of 44 organizations nationwide that received this highly competitive grant.
The award will help fund the creation of a product development and supplier lab that will support innovators and companies working to address the shortage of PPE and other medical supplies, diagnostics, and devices. The MCA’s Innovation Center is working in partnership with BIO El Paso-Juarez, a binational nonprofit organization representing the most robust binational medical device manufacturing industry in North America. The lab, which will support local and non-local innovators, will help local manufacturers and suppliers in the El Paso region expand supply development and expertise, support innovation and new medical device production, and address public health concerns by increasing the production of PPE. Additional partners for this initiative include the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) Paso del Norte and Fab Lab El Paso, who will provide critical technical training and product development support to manufacturers, suppliers, and innovators.
“Our region has experienced phenomenal growth in the medical device manufacturing industry over the last decade, but we need to take steps to root the industry in our region through innovation and product development, which will grow our supplier base and feed the manufacturing sector” said Emma Schwartz, President of the MCA and CEO of BIO El Paso-Juarez. “Adding this lab to our ecosystem will provide an unprecedented opportunity to increase product development and commercialization activities for medical technologies that will drive local and attract non-local innovation, contribute to more advanced manufacturing, enhance the regional supply chain, and impact public health”.
The grant will have a strong positive economic impact on our region, providing for positive promotion of our region’s capabilities, increasing the number of new local tech companies, and adding value to non-local companies, increasing living wage jobs, and strengthening a technology-based industry in the El Paso region. This grant will also further BIO-El Paso-Juarez’s efforts to support El Paso manufacturers who are pivoting some or all their operations to produce needed materials and products in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this project the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation’s Innovation Center and BIO El Paso-Juarez will continue their efforts to foster innovation, create resilience against disruptions such as pandemics, and grow the life sciences and medical device industries in the region in a strategic and collaborative way.