Former Medtronic CEO to Chair New Med-Tech Initiative

Bill Hawkins, who served as CEO of Medtronic from 2007 to 2011, has been tapped as the chairman of a new public-private partnership that aims to establish a regulatory science center in Minnesota.

LifeScience Alley announced Wednesday that former Medtronic CEO Bill Hawkins will chair a newly formed public-private partnership aimed at advancing regulatory sciences in Minnesota.

The three organizations coming together to form the partnership are St. Louis Park-based trade association LifeScience Alley, the University of Minnesota, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). Its main goal will be to establish a new regulatory science center in Minnesota, where medical devices will be evaluated for safety, effectiveness, quality, and performance.

“Bill has the experience, reputation and vision to help lead this initiative,” LifeScience Alley CEO Dale Wahlstrom said in a statement. “We now have an opportunity to play an important part in improving the process for evaluating medical technology for market clearance.”

Wahlstrom told the Star Tribune that the goal of the regulatory sciences center project is to improve the development, testing, and approval process for medical devices.

The partnership was initiated following a LifeScience Alley-hosted visit of senior CDRH members to the Twin Cities in August, and it was formalized in December with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between LifeScience Alley and CDRH.

In addition to Hawkins, who is currently the CEO of Norcross, Georgia-based Immucor, the partnership also tapped Amy Peterson, senior director of clinical and regulatory affairs for the men's health division at Minnetonka-based American Medical Systems, to provide executive management and oversee the administration of projects.

LifeScience Alley said Hawkins and Peterson are trying to get commitments from industry leaders and academics to serve on the partnership's steering committee. The trade association hopes to announce the committee's members within the next month.

“I am very excited about the global impact that I believe this Minnesota initiative will have,” Hawkins said in a statement. “Working closely with [CDRH Director] Dr. [Jeffrey] Shuren, University of Minnesota, and industry executives, I know we can improve our approach to ensure U.S. leadership in medical technology innovation and to save and protect lives.”

Hawkins served as the CEO of Medtronic from 2007 to 2011.