SRI International and Stanford University School of Medicine Launch the MISTRAL Collaborative to Innovate Medical Device Development

For Release: June 29, 2010

MENLO PARK, Calif.  SRI International and the Stanford University School of Medicine announced today that they have established the MISTRAL (Multidisciplinary Initiative for Surgical Technology Research Advanced Laboratory) Collaborative, a program to accelerate the innovation of medical devices and bring them to market faster.  A key objective of this program is the effective and safe transformation of innovative medical device ideas into products that will improve the quality and reduce the cost of healthcare in several key areas, such as pediatric medical products, trauma care, telemedicine, and endoscopy.

Research efforts will focus on underserved medical needs, particularly where market factors and regulatory concerns may prevent medical device companies from investing in high risk innovations. Projects already underway include improved surgical devices for newborns, enhanced surgical endoscopic tools with increased dexterity, and a viable alternative to sutures using robotic instruments. MISTRAL is led by co-founders Pablo Garcia and  Sanjeev Dutta, MD. Garcia also leads research in medical systems and medical product development, telemedicine and robotic surgery at SRI International. Dutta is a nationally recognized leader in minimal-access surgery and defined the area of stealth surgery, a “scarless” approach to pediatric operations. He is associate professor of surgery and of pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine and attending surgeon at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. “There is a growing need for innovation in the medical device industry, especially for underserved groups such as newborns and children,” said Dutta. “The MISTRAL Collaborative, through the broad clinical, engineering, and commercialization resources of our member institutions, hopes to catalyze breakthrough device development by performing the initial R&D, partnering with industry, and identifying paths to market for badly-needed pediatric medical devices.”

“Through close collaboration with surgeons, engineers, and other key stakeholders, we hope to create a sustainable program that will improve patient care through innovative and cost effective technologies,” said Pablo Garcia, an SRI principal engineer. “SRI’s proven approach to technology innovation, biosciences research, and commercialization, combined with Stanford’s renowned clinical care research, particularly through the strong emphasis on pediatric medical care at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, will foster hands-on development of products addressing important market needs.” The MISTRAL Collaborative is organized  in working groups comprised of technical staff from SRI, physicians and medical staff from Stanford and Packard Children’s, consultants, and industry professionals brought together to address a specialty area. Interdisciplinary collaboration between engineers and surgeons will help develop needed devices and accelerate the bench-to-bedside translational process.

The business development function will play a key role in defining the market approach for each device and will create initial business plans during the early stages of development. Once a plan is defined, the team will explore opportunities for financial viability and support. The consortium will maintain an active network of venture capitalists and investors with a record and interest in medical devices. A key feature will be the formation of a Pediatric Device Fund, a venture-philanthropic approach to support the development of products that do not have sufficient market pull, but that would provide significant clinical benefits if brought to the market.

About SRI International

Silicon Valley-based SRI International is one of the world's leading independent research and technology development organizations. SRI, which was founded by Stanford University as Stanford Research Institute in 1946 and became independent in 1970, has been meeting the strategic needs of clients and partners for more than 60 years. Perhaps best known for its invention of the computer mouse and interactive computing, SRI has also been responsible for major advances in networking and communications, robotics, drug discovery and development, advanced materials, atmospheric research, education research, economic development, national security, and more. The nonprofit institute performs sponsored research and development for government agencies, businesses, and foundations. SRI also licenses its technologies, forms strategic alliances, and creates spin-off companies. In 2009, SRI's consolidated revenues, including its wholly owned for-profit subsidiary, Sarnoff Corporation, were approximately $470 million. Sarnoff Corporation, a leader in vision, video, and semiconductor innovations, will be fully integrated into SRI effective January 1, 2011.

About Stanford Medicine Children's Health

Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford at its center, is the Bay Area’s largest health care system exclusively dedicated to children and expectant mothers. Our network of care includes more than 65 locations across Northern California and more than 85 locations in the U.S. Western region. Along with Stanford Health Care and the Stanford School of Medicine, we are part of Stanford Medicine, an ecosystem harnessing the potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education, and clinical care to improve health outcomes around the world. We are a nonprofit organization committed to supporting the community through meaningful outreach programs and services and providing necessary medical care to families, regardless of their ability to pay. Discover more at