Physician entrepreneurs, technologists, investors, service providers, patients and other innovation stakeholders have embraced biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship in an effort to provide higher value care and lower the discovery and development costs of drugs, devices and digital health products and services. To that end, traditional brick and mortar cluster innovation models are being supplemented with virtual networks that are online, decentralized and community based.
This paper reviews the evolution of these models and their future development and presents examples of virtual organizations that support biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship, fundraising, and new product development and clinical trial recruitment using crowd sourcing.
Community based innovation and biomedical and health online innovation networks have the potential to speed new product development, offer alternative financing platforms for early stage ventures, provide education, information and support to those with particular diseases and help to lower the costs and speed of clinical trials. However, questions remain about their effectiveness in creating value, security, commercial and clinical validity, legal status and sustainability.