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Success Story: Stanford Medicine Catalyst

by SRP on March 2, 2024

Stanford Research Park was born in part from the realization that the cross-pollination between scientist- and engineer-entrepreneurs and the academic and human resources of Stanford University can unleash immeasurable potential in the name of progress. Among the most iconic examples of this potential is Varian, which was the first company to locate in what was then called Stanford Industrial Park and remains in the Research Park today. In the 1930s, the Varian brothers realized that if their inventions were to make it to market, they needed support. Through a series of events, the brothers and Stanford reached a unique and paradigm-shifting arrangement: The brothers would work out of the University at no cost. In exchange, the University would receive a percentage of royalties from patents the brothers earned while working at Stanford.

Stanford Medicine Catalyst launched to capture the same powerful ethos and partnership dynamics that enabled the Varian brothers to move their idea through years of time- and resource-intensive labor to a marketable product and, eventually, a full-fledged company. Catalyst operates from an awareness that Stanford—and all its manifold resources—is uniquely positioned to help healthcare innovators overcome the various hurdles that stand between discovery and viable technology available to practitioners and patients.

Stanford Medicine Catalyst, which operates out of The Hub in the Research Park, is a joint strategic effort between Stanford’s School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care, and Stanford Children’s Health. Its mission is to support inventors from across the Stanford community innovating in the areas of digital health, medical technology, diagnostics, and therapeutics.

Aware that the ultimate job of the innovator is to innovate, Catalyst offers a range of resources and opportunities to help innovators accelerate their progress strategically and successfully. At the highest level, selected applicants can benefit from access to various stakeholder groups within the greater Stanford ecosystem. As one example, Catalyst facilitates product testing and deployment within the Stanford regional health care system so that innovators can earn market-requisite approval. In addition to $1 million in capital, companies are given mentorship and are introduced to industry experts and outside investors. Catalyst provides program management, validation resources, and other go-to-market resources, such that, ultimately, a company can graduate from the partnership ready for independence.

Stanford has long since been committed to finding creative ways to ensure that the ideas and discoveries that emerge from the University ecosystem are not lost to history but are instead brought to life for the benefit of human life. Stanford Medicine Catalyst is just one more manifestation of this historical impulse—and we look forward to it realizing new potential through its partner entrepreneurs leading humanity forward.


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