Commercializing medical technology
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As medicine moves into the 21st century, life saving therapies will move from inception into medical products faster if there is a better synergy between science and business. Medicine appears to have 50-year innovative cycles of education and scientific discoveries. In the 1880’s, the chemical industry in Germany was faced with the dilemma of modernization to exploit the new scientific discoveries. The solution was the spawning of novel technical colleges for training in these new chemical industries. The impact of those new employees and their groundbreaking compounds had a profound influence on medicine and medical education in Germany between 1880 and 1930. Germany dominated international science during this period and was a training center for scientists worldwide. This model of synergy between education and business was envied and admired in Europe, Asia and America. British science soon after evolved to dominate the field of science during the prewar and post World War (1930’s–1970’s) because the German scientists fled Hitler’s government. These expatriated scientists had a profound influence on the teaching and training of British scientists, which lead to advances in medicine such as antibiotics. After the Second World War, the US government wisely funded the development of the medical infrastructure that we see today. British and German scientists in medicine moved to America because of this bountiful funding for their research. These expatriated scientists helped drive these medical advances into commercialized products by the 1980’s. America has been the center of medical education and advances of biotechnology but will it continue? International scientists trained in America have started to return to Europe and Asia. These American-trained scientists and their governments are very aware of the commercial potential of biotechnology. Those governments are now more prepared to play an active role this new science. Germany, Ireland, Britain, Singapore, Taiwan and Israel are such examples of this government support for biotechnology in the 21st century. Will the US continue to maintain its domination of biotechnology in this century? Will the US education system adjust to the new dynamic of synergistic relationships between the education system, industry and government? This article will try to address these questions but also will help the reader understand who will emerge by 2015 as the leader in science and education.