A start for med tech startups: Pathfinder by GCMI and T3 Labs

Atlanta is quickly becoming a national epicenter for medical device and other med tech innovation. The region is rife with resources including infrastructure, engineering expertise, healthcare professionals and care systems about. Yet, we have discovered many highly talented physician innovators, engineers and medtech startups lack the innovation ‘baseline’ education needed to give them the very best chance of successfully navigating the process from concept to commercialization, including the acquisition and efficient use of capital throughout the process.


The med tech innovation process is an arduous, highly regulated, ever-shifting landscape rife with opportunities and catastrophic pitfalls. How do you know you’re ready for prototyping? How big is the clinical need and market for your technology? Is your IP available and protected? What does your FDA pathway really look like? What are your testing needs?

GCMI and T3 Labs believe the right support system not only exists here, but is capable of identifying the innovators, ideas and startups with the greatest potential for successfully completing the journey from concept to commercialization to the benefits of U.S. healthcare and the patient population it serves. What we discovered is missing is an early educational component inclusive of the different considerations – regulatory, market analysis, manufacturing and testing requirements and more – innovators and startups should be addressing from the outset of their med tech endeavors.

As such, Pathfinder, a start for med tech startups, was born in late 2016.


GCMI and T3 Labs now offer Pathfinder, a quarterly program for med tech startups intended to evaluate and identify the critical gaps that need filling before a startup starts spinning their wheels and burning cash.

Pathfinder is a start for start-ups. It is a program aimed at educating and preparing those interested in medical device development on the requirements for effective execution of their plans.

Successful applicants to Pathfinder will be given an opportunity to pitch in front of a panel of experts with specific backgrounds related to different considerations med tech startups must address. For example: an attorney who is evaluating a pitch specifically from an intellectual property (IP) point of view, or an engineering expert considering the prototyping and manufacturing potential will be part of the panel.

Following the pitch, each panelist will have time to ask questions and provide advice related specifically to their area of expertise.

Each panelist will then rank the innovator on their specific category of expertise. This report card will provide the participant with areas that require their attention immediately and recommend an actionable path forward on their unique innovation pathway.


GCMI is the Global Center for Medical Innovation, the Southeast’s first and only comprehensive medical device innovation center. We exist in order to accelerate development, build businesses and improve health concepts to cure to commercialization. Several small and large companies have used GCMI as a springboard on their path from concept to commercialization.

T3 Labs is an industry leading preclinical CRO. With 15 years of experience, T3’s mission remains – to provide high-value preclinical testing and training services to medical device, biologics, and pharmaceutical developers and manufacturers. We work with industry and academic sponsors to improve quality based outcomes for patient care, by more effectively and efficiently developing and commercializing medical devices and products. We have completed more than 50 GLP preclinical studies from which more than 25 medical devices have achieved FDA regulatory approval. To foster a culture of accountability and collaboration T3 partners with med device partners to train 2000+ physicians, clinical specialist, and allied healthcare professionals a year.


The pilot and first formal cohort are already complete. We are currently accepting applications for our next cohort with the intention of matriculating cohorts quarterly.