Upstate Medical University

CNY Biotech Accelerator Medical Device Innovation Challenge

2023 Application Period Now Closed.  Please visit us in January 2024 when the 7th Annual Challenge will begin accepting applications.

CNY Biotech Accelerator’s (CNYBAC) Medical Device Innovation Challenge (MDIC) is supported in part through an Empire State Development grant.  MDIC is a 6-month mentor program selecting up to 5 early-to-mid stage innovation teams each year with the intent to expand their innovation ecosystem, provide resources and guidance in areas such as intellectual property protection, product design and development, and regulatory strategy.  MDIC aligns targeted mentors and provides a stipend to The Innovation Law Center to perform commercialization research for each of the selected teams.  The MDIC serves as a complementary and collaborative initiative to assist teams in preparation for biotech-related incubation programs. Teams may participate virtually from anywhere in the US. 

To date, 33 teams have participated in MDIC and have achieved impressive milestones during and upon graduation.
View our Graduate MDIC Team Milestones

MDIC program creator and CNYBAC Executive Director, Kathi Durdon, was recently interviewed by local WCNY affiliate about the program which includes graduate testimonials:

MDIC applications are accepted January 1 through March 31 each year and are reviewed through a due diligence process performed by The Innovation Law Center, Syracuse University with teams selected by the MDIC Review Committee.  The program starts August 1  (some teams receive early commercialization research in advance of program start by The Innovation Law Center).  You may participate virtually or on-site.  If on-site, you can elect to work at no cost during the 6-month program in the CNYBAC Creation Garage, 841 E. Fayette St., Syracuse, NY.  All selected teams can utilize this facility at any point during the program.  

CNYBAC Medical Device Innovation Challenge (MDIC) Two-step Application Process

Step 1:  Confirm Eligibility

To be eligible to apply you must meet all of the following:

  • Are a US-based innovation team/startup company or are affiliated with a NYS-based organization.
  • Are in early stage development of a medical device per FDA medical device definition.     
  • Have a team.
  • Your innovation is reduced to practice and you are able to apply for a patent, have a provisional patent filed, or patent approved.
  • Agree to meet the requirements of the program:  attend all monthly mentor meetings, actively participate in progressing through your Project Plan goals, attend CNYBAC virtual education events (most are recorded/you can access at your convenience).  

Step 2:  Complete Application/Submit by March 31.

Program details:

  • Selected teams receive an MDIC Agreement for execution.  Program start date:  August 1.
  • We cover the costs of student-based legal and commercialization research for each selected team through the Innovation Law Center, NYS Science and Technology Law Center, Syracuse University College of Law.
  • Mentorship:  mentors are assigned to each team based on specific goals to be accomplished during the program (legal, regulatory, commercialization, CEO, product development experts, etc.).  Hour-long virtual mentor meetings are held monthly, scheduled Mon-Fri, 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. EST.
  • Selected teams gain coordinated access to SUNY Upstate Medical University research partners and Core Facilities.
  • 3D printer/wash station, additional on-site equipment available.
  • Extensive Ecosystem:  We will provide targeted resource assistance and networking opportunities throughout the program.  
  • Networking Opportunities/Resource Access:
    • Student Capstone Design and Prototype Development Programs 
    • Cornell Center for for Materials Research JumpStart (CCMR)
    • SUNY Binghamton Integrated Electronics Engineering Center (IEEC)
    • MedTech Annual Meeting 
    • FuzeHub Commercialization Competition hosted at NYS Innovation Summit
    • Upstate Capital Association Invest NY Series/Pitch Events
    • Upstate Venture Connect Founders Summit 

From just a few of our graduates:

“We are so grateful for the help that MDIC has provided to us. They introduced us to Syracuse University – where we worked both with the biomedical engineers in the Capstone program on the redesign of the prototype and with the Law Department on patent review. They introduced us to investors. They provided invaluable feedback and advice.  We are incredibly lucky that we got accepted into the program and recommend it whole-heartedly to anyone in the early stages of developing their medical device.”  Katya Sverdlov, CFA, Esq., Co-founder, CEO, JelikaLite (2021 Graduate)

“MDIC provided a diligent and highly accomplished interdisciplinary team of industry professionals who provided the needed mentorship, connections, and perspective to help my company accelerate its growth and development. Time and time again, these mentors have been invaluable to our success and I offer my most enthusiastic support for this incredible program.”  Longsha Liu, CEO & Co-founder, Vita Innovations (2020 Graduate)

“Wow, the resources and knowledge we gained through the MDIC program were extremely valuable! Access to the clinicians at the Upstate University Hospital gave us so many insights into new pathways for our product. Our investment and participation in the MDIC program have given back to us 10 fold!”
Dwight Cheu, CEO, ZEPHYRx (2019 Graduate)

“MDIC brought together a team of knowledgeable mentors who provided valuable advice and connections. The process has helped us think through the challenges ahead and prepare for our next stage of development.”  Ted Eveleth, CEO, Halomine (2019 Graduate)

“The connections to universities and organizations in the central New York area and beyond has been invaluable for us. The program helps us be capital efficient while making a lot of progress. We’ve also connected with engineering/produce development and regulatory mentors throughout the program, which has enabled us to make a ton of progress in a relatively short period of time. I couldn’t recommend the MDIC program enough.”
Souvik Paul, CEO, Aurie (formerly CathBuddy, 2019 Graduate)

For questions or more info call  315-464-9288, 315-464-9290 or email