One might have noticed T3 Labs’ slick logo from the back cover of the Pioneer or may already know about the company from its crucial role in the pre-clinical market. A company aficionado may even know that the three T’s stand for Translational Testing and Training Laboratories. However, even he or she is probably unaware that the lab did not always go by this name.
The organization began in 1999 as a subset of St. Joseph’s (formerly known as the American Cardiovascular Research Institute) and was later purchased by the Emory/St. Joseph’s Joint Operating Company as an individual entity. They rebranded it to T3 Labs after deciding to focus on the preclinical testing and training of medical products, which is now T3 Labs’ core purpose. T3 Labs fulfills a unique and crucial niche in that it takes newly minted products from the nation’s largest academic and industrial innovators and runs in vivo models and tests to ensure their readiness for clinical trials or even immediate use. In fact, as a licensed third party, T3 Labs conducts procedures that are GLP (Good Laboratory Practice) compliant, which essentially means the quality of its work can be submitted for FDA approval, and the accuracy and reproducibility of their data is verified. T3 Labs also plays a significant role in screening for the safety of these devices, and the majority of the products it tests are medical devices from large companies and startups, which may include prototypes designed and built at the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) affiliated with and located at Georgia Tech. With its GLP certification, which requires a certain level of quality many academic labs do not even have, T3 Labs has solidified its position as a bridge between pure research and clinical testing.
While this covers the translational testing portion of its company body, T3 Labs also act as a training lab. Within this, it teaches surgeons how to use recently T3-approved medical devices and provide information to clinical sales representatives about T3 products. T3 Labs frequently holds large training sessions and plays a vital role in the market of clinical medicine, and although it may seem hidden, the translational in “Translational Testing and Training Laboratories” reflects T3 Labs’ significant involvement with academic research. In addition to working primarily with Emory’s Cardiothoracic Research Lab (CTRL), T3 Labs also runs academic studies with faculty from several departments at Emory and Georgia Tech as well as other academic institutions.
T3 Labs are located at Tech Enterprises Park (TEP), where it has a world-class facility that has seven procedure rooms, including three full hospital-grade operating rooms and a fixed cath lab. Here, the majority of testing is conducted on cardiovascular and orthopedic products. Examples of cardiovascular testing include heart stents and pacemaker research, while orthopedic testing largely deals with spinal surgery and bone graft testing. T3 Labs has a tight functioning team of 40 full time members, which include program management (eg. members qualified to serve as primary investigators and study directors in order to lead the testing of different devices, and a dedicated training team that works with physicians, residents and engineers from all therapeutic areas from across the globe), a quality assurance unit, technical staff (eg. the surgeons and technicians who perform tests and collect data), consultants and vendors, and their academic partners (eg. members of the Georgia Institute of Technology).
The mission statement of T3 labs is “to provide high value, compliant, preclinical testing and training services to medical and drug developers.” This certainly holds, as its multi-functional and dynamic role in the clinical research and medical device industry is unparalleled by most other labs. With its pivotal place in the scientific world, T3 Labs certainly stands as a fantastic job option for Georgia Tech Biomedical engineering graduates. In fact, the T3 program manager who was interviewed for this article graduated with a biomedical engineering degree from Georgia Tech in 2008! If interested in reading more about this forward-thinking company, one can do so on at T3labs.org or can contact a representative by phone (404-251-0600) or by email (T3labs@emory.edu).