The 7th annual Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit which begins today, will have "all the ingredients" for a truly unique gathering, Chris Coburn told Medical Device Daily.

Coburn, the executive director of CCF Innovations – the technology arm of the Cleveland Clinic – expects this year's meeting to be "terrific" for first-time attendees as well as those who have attended the event since its 2003 beginning. As in past years, the summit is taking place at the InterContinental Hotel and Conference Center.

"We believe what is special about our Innovation Summit is that it occurs in a clinical setting," Coburn said. With an emphasis these days on higher quality healthcare at a lower cost, he noted, "here is this innovation summit in the heart of our campus, so right off the bat I think that makes this a singular gathering."

While the summit draws in high profile speakers, Coburn said it also pulls in noteworthy attendees, like the former CEO of a giant medical products company who is registered for this year's event. "The quality of the people who are speaking," he said, "combined with the thousand folks who register creates a very potent assembly of folks who are making decisions" that will impact the future of medical innovation.

Even in this down economy Coburn expects the meeting to have about 1,000 attendees representing several countries.

This year's lineup of speakers includes FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, who is expected, according to the meeting agenda, to "share her vision and priorities as she guides the agency in a period of fundamental reform and economic challenges."

The event's clinical theme this year is cancer, but Coburn pointed out that the summit will touch on "lots of other issues." For example, he said, "genotyping is important in the cancer world, but it's going to affect all of healthcare and there's a raging controversy on how and when genotyping will affect the" continuum of care.

The future of genotyping will be explored in great detail during the meeting, Coburn said, as well as other hot topics.

Coburn says that what sets the Medical Innovation Summit apart from other medical conferences held throughout the year is that the Cleveland Clinic is "committed to providing actionable information for our attendees. So if they come here they will learn things that they can then put to use in their daily jobs."

While the meeting agenda is chock-full of appealing panel topics, one that is sure peak attendees' interest is a Wednesday panel topic titled "five ways healthcare reform will change your life as an innovator." Moderated by Debra Lappin, president of the Council for American Medical Innovation (Washington), the panelists are expected to examine, in detail, how issues that affect innovation at the operating level will change, including reimbursement and product approval. Those panel members include: Edward Buckley, director of economic policy at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (Washington); David Nexon, senior executive VP at the Advanced Medical Technology Association (Washington); Beth Seidenberg, MD, a partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; and Richard Smith, senior VP of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (Washington).

"The folks on that panel are on the inside of the new policies and legislation so we think that will provide important and maybe even unique insights for the attendees," Coburn said.

And of course it wouldn't be a Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit without the much-anticipated "Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2010," which will be unveiled Wednesday by a panel of the Cleveland Clinic's top practitioners.

While speaking to MDD prior to this week's summit, Coburn was so excited about this year's "Top 10" list he teased that he wished he could reveal them right then and there. He didn't – of course – instead, he just said, "I think we've got some really interesting selections that will tell people a lot about what the near future of healthcare innovations is going to look like."

Amanda Pedersen, 229-471-4212;