Open Innovation at Wake Forest

Wake Forest Innovations brings industry and Wake Forest scientists and clinicians together to appreciate each other’s needs and capabilities, determine common goals, devise practical strategies and coordinate efforts to accelerate the process of developing high-value health care products.

We support product invention and preclinical & clinical development through out-licensing, in-licensing, sponsored basic, preclinical & clinical research agreements and broad-based collaborative partnerships.

We provide specialized preclinical & clinical research services to assess the safety and efficacy of candidate therapeutics, diagnostics, vaccines and medical devices.

We invite you to learn more about our proprietary technologies, specialized preclinical & clinical research and services and scientific areas of strength.



“We believe that collaborative relationships are the most efficient and productive means of bringing therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics and digital health concepts from the minds of our faculty to the marketplace. We are committed to establishing partnerships with industry that are based on sharing expertise, knowledge, risk and reward at all stages of product research & development.”

   – Eric Tomlinson, DSc, PhD, Chief Innovation Officer

What Open Innovation Looks Like at Wake Forest

    • Over 1,100 scientist and clinician experts partnering with industry to develop therapeutics, vaccines, regenerative medicines, diagnostics, medical devices and digital health technologies
    • Basic and clinical research in: cancer; regenerative medicine; aging and Alzheimer’s disease; diabetes, obesity, metabolism and related cardiovascular disease; cell development and therapy; pain and substance abuse; vaccine development; population health; digital health
    • Opportunities for collaborative development of proprietary technologies and products sharing our internal and external pathways
    • Product development and business development groups with an entrepreneurial spirit and an industry-supportive approach
    • Accelerator programs in therapeutics, medical devices and diagnostics
    • Openness in product development and research findings
    • Modern partnership and licensing agreements with terms tailored to each individual project


Joel Stitzel, PhD
Professor and Chair, Biomedical Engineering

“Open Innovation means partnering with companies of all kinds so that we can make better and safer products to save lives.”


Martha Alexander-Miller, PhD
Professor and Chair, Microbiology & Immunology

“Open Innovation means sharing my discoveries with an industry partner so that together we can make the largest impact on the tiniest of lives.”


Keith Walter, MD
Professor, Ophthalmology

“Open Innovation means finding the right industry partner to share my vision for excellence.”


Strategic Areas of Focus

Wake Forest offers a breadth and depth of experience in strategic areas of focus. We seek partnerships with industry in these and other health care disciplines.

Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease

AgingWake Forest is a world leader in cutting-edge research in Aging & Alzheimer’s disease and in the clinical care of older adults. Our researchers possess more than 50 years of experience in the critical assessment of novel therapeutic candidates in animal models and in human trials. As one of the few Alzheimer’s disease research programs in the Southeast, Wake Forest is a premier location for conducting trials in geriatrics, aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Our pipeline of proprietary technologies for license offers hope for future cures and treatments for prevalent health issues faced by elderly populations.


AgingWake Forest is one of the nation’s leaders in the fight against cancer. Ranked 1st in North Carolina for its cancer program, and 20th nationwide, Wake Forest has pioneered numerous scientific breakthroughs in the understanding and treatment of cancer. With over 120 dedicated clinicians and cancer experts, we engage in advanced cancer research and drug development services. For our industry partners, we offer cutting-edge technologies for licensing, partnership opportunities in basic science scholarship and discovery, preclinical drug development services and implementation and management of single- and multi-site clinical trials.

Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism

AgingWake Forest brings together multidisciplinary groups of clinicians and scientists who pioneer the research and treatment of diabetes, obesity and related diseases and conditions. Our experts provide strong portfolios of specialized preclinical and clinical services by drawing from unique populations of preclinical animal models of chronic and degenerative diseases and large minority populations of patients for clinical trials. A nationally recognized Center for Diabetes Research supports the researchers and clinicians at Wake Forest whose discoveries improve the lives of those suffering from diabetes and related conditions.

Regenerative Medicine

AgingWake Forest is home to the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, one of the largest freestanding facilities in the world dedicated to regenerative medicine. Scientists at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine were the first in world to engineer laboratory-grown organs that were successfully implanted in humans. Today, this interdisciplinary team is working to engineer replacement tissues and organs and healing cell therapies for more than 30 different areas of the body. The Institute for Regenerative Medicine translates scientific discovery into clinical therapies and maintains an active program of industry engagement through research collaborations, product development and intellectual property licensing.

Medical Devices

AgingWake Forest has a history of pioneering novel medical devices, such as the Vacuum-Assisted Closure device that revolutionized wound care. Today, we are developing an extensive portfolio of devices for a spectrum of specialties, including orthopaedics, neurosurgery, ophthalmology and anesthesia. Wake Forest encourages its physicians to turn clinical problems into real-world solutions and works to accelerate faculty development of new devices. Wake Forest also partners with industry to assess the safety and efficacy of medical devices in animal models, including large animals in our GLP-compliant large animal surgical facility.

Pain & Substance Abuse

AgingWake Forest promotes a multidisciplinary and translational approach to researching pain and substance abuse. Researchers at Wake Forest investigate pain mechanisms associated with a variety of areas, such as headache, pregnancy, nerve injury and surgery, and conduct clinical trials of traditional and alternative pain interventions. In substance abuse research, our scientists focus on neurological, behavioral and environmental factors of addiction in order to determine abuse liability and treatments. Our researchers use cutting-edge technologies and unique animal models, including nonhuman primates, to develop novel treatments for pain and substance abuse and evaluate therapeutics in collaboration with industry partners.

Public Health Sciences

AgingWake Forest is a strategic leader in improving public health and disease prevention in both clinical and community settings. Public Health Sciences at Wake Forest provides access to clinical data and advanced statistical analyses across a broad spectrum of research, from cardiovascular disease and diabetes to population genetics and oncology. Our multidisciplinary group of public health experts develops innovative solutions that help industry partners navigate regulatory compliance, coordinate single- and multi-center trials, design and implement studies and manage and better understand complex research data.

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