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Development center offers business help, advanced medical research
Carroll Turner, director of the Lanier Technical College Manufacturing Development Center, shows off a model of a tibia, which was fashioned by the center’s rapid prototype machine. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Lanier Tech’s Manufacturing Development Center

Where: The former Warren Featherbone Co. building, 999 Chestnut St., Gainesville

More info: 770-535-9220 or

A center on Chestnut Street in Gainesville may not seem the likeliest place to play a vital role in medical research.

But the Lanier Technical College Manufacturing and Development Center has quite a few tricks up its sleeve.

Among other things, the center’s staff assists entrepreneurs during the infancy of their businesses.

“They will give you the how-to to start a business, that’s for sure,” said Dr. Lina Muhanna, owner and president of Featherbone Technologies. “They helped us with the FDA when we were working on a prototype for a spinal implant, by guiding us through what needed to be done.”

The center, located near I-985 and U.S. 129, aims to help new and already-established small companies by offering amenities such as low overhead costs and advice from the seasoned business professionals who run the center.

The result is a space that allows business owners to focus instead on making innovative products.

For example, Muhanna’s company, located at the 3-year-old center, has developed a spinal implant and inflatable Emergency Transport System that can be used with a first responder’s backboard to prevent additional injury to immobilized patients.

Other companies like NeuroStability Solutions, Discovery Medical and Aqueduct Urological all have used the center to perform self-funded research and development.

In addition to helping medical device companies grow, the center also serves as a nontraditional site for MRI services.

“Direct Medical Imaging has 10 tractor-trailers with MRI machines, and they go all around the state servicing hospitals,” said Caroll Turner, director of the center. “Their company is based here, and when they have vacancies, they perform an MRI on site for $389, including the reading.”

Turner said an MRI normally can cost closer to $2,000. But these services are provided for the uninsured and under-insured.

“They are really filling a need,” Turner said. “Not too many people can afford $2,000 for an MRI.”

Currently, the imaging services are available with a prescription on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but the company has plans for using the center as a full-time location, Turner said.

The imaging company also helps the center bring in other high-tech medical companies.

“We are in the process of recruiting a startup company that develops and produces injectable contrasting agents, (which can be used to highlight things in an MRI),” Turner said. The company needs an MRI machine on site to see if their product is working.

The center is a collaborative effort involving Lanier Technical College, the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Georgia College & State University and Brenau’s nursing school.

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