Representatives from fourteen biomedical manufacturers demonstrated a wide range of innovative medical products and devices at the latest U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command Vendor Day held at the Defense Medical Logistics Center at Fort Detrick, Maryland on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. Visitors were able to learn about the latest ideas in combat casualty care including portable devices for use in en-route critical care, hemostatic dressings and gels, pharmacotherapies for severe burns and tools for injury diagnosis, assessment and treatment.
MRDC has long recognized that unique and innovative products and ideas developed outside the government can help the organization accomplish its mission of ensuring that military personnel remain in optimal health and have the tools and resources they need to protect themselves from disease and injury – particularly on the battlefield.
“We can’t get our products into the hands of the Service Members without our vendors,” says Sarah Langdon, a program manager in MRDC’s Office of the Principal Assistant for Acquisition. “It’s very important that we develop partnerships because we can’t do it without them.”
Langdon explained that military relevance is a key factor when MRDC is considering potential partnerships.
“If a product is commercially available, that’s great, but we also have to consider factors such as size, weight and ruggedization.”
In addition to opportunities for face-to-face interactions such as Vendor Day, MRDC also offers a New Products and Ideas web tool (https://mrdc-npi.health.mil/) that enables vendors to showcase their products and ideas online. Subject matter experts assess submissions to the NPI portal, evaluate their applicability to mission requirements and provide constructive feedback.
Representatives of MRDC direct reporting units were in attendance at Vendor Day, discussing with inventors and small business owners how their products might address their programs’ specific needs. Col. Mark Hartell, military deputy director of MRDC’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, explained that many of CDMRP’s business partnerships emerge from relationships with researchers who apply for funding to support high-impact, high-risk and high-gain biomedical research that other agencies may not venture to fund.
“We look for innovative, impactful research into products and devices that will change the outcomes of the diseases we are directed to investigate,” says Hartell. “Ultimately, their success leads to our success.”