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Innovation Pathway

Thu, 01/12/2012 - 6:30am
U.S. Food & Drug Administration

Bringing breakthrough, safe and effective medical devices to patients quickly, safely and efficiently improves lives and health care. To help reach patients with these devices as quickly as possible, the FDA created the Innovation Pathway — a priority program for technologies that address unmet medical needs in disease treatment, diagnosis and health care delivery.

The Innovation Pathway aims to shorten the overall time it takes for the development, assessment, and review of breakthrough medical devices. Some key areas of focus include the development of new decision tools to help the FDA assess and characterize benefits and risks to patients, and new collaborative ways for the FDA and innovators to share ideas about new device concepts. Where applicable, these new approaches, practices, and tools will be used in other pre-market programs.


On Feb. 8, 2011, the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health launched its Innovation Initiative, which proposed actions the agency could take to help accelerate and reduce the cost of development and regulatory evaluation of innovative medical devices in a way that maintains or improves patient safety and is based on sound science.

As part of that Initiative, the FDA proposed the Innovation Pathway, a priority program for technologies that address unmet medical needs in disease treatment, diagnosis and health care delivery. The FDA also announced a pilot submission — a brain-controlled, upper-extremity prosthetic — for review under the Pathway.

After considering public comments received on the Innovation Initiative — and extensive review of our experience from the pilot submission, the FDA is introducing the Innovation Challenge, a call for voluntary submission of innovative device applications for End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

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