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cleveland-based medwish wins $100k prize in toshiba contest

MedWish International, a Cleveland company that recycles medical supplies and equipment discarded by local hospitals, medical device companies and individuals by redistributing them to developing nations in desperate need of such items, won the $100,000 technology upgrade grand prize in Toshiba’s Helping the Helpers Technology Makeover.

MedWish beat out 150 U.S. non-profit charities by submitting a two-minute video to Toshiba for Good Facebook page, explaining how they would benefit from a technology makeover. Finalists and the winner were decided by a nationwide vote of Facebook users who watched the videos.

“All of the Helping the Helpers contest finalists were worthy organizations that we felt were deserving of the technology makeover,” says Bill Melo, vice president of marketing, services and solutions, Toshiba America Business Solutions. “MedWish’s video excelled at meeting the criteria we established for the contest, but it was our 10,000-plus fans on Facebook who ultimately decided on MedWish as the grand prize winner.”
MedWish will receive Toshiba products and services that include new color multifunction copiers, desktop computers, laptops, televisions, camcorders, telephone systems and energy-saving LED light bulbs. Also included is the Encompass fleet optimization program -- an analysis that will help uncover hidden cost savings throughout the workplace.
“Honestly, this prize will allow MedWish to focus more on our work of saving lives and conserving our environment, and less on unjamming printers and dealing with ancient computers,” says Matthew Fieldman, MedWish director of development. “Even the little details can make a big difference; like now we can show our orientation video, which is seen by over 2,000 volunteers annually, on an HD television instead of a TV from the 1980s.”

MedWish recruited its network of the 5,300 people on its email list, including over 3,500 past volunteers, to vote for them and ultimately win the contest.

Source: Matthew Feldman, Bill Melo
Writer: Karin Connelly

onshift closes $3 million in financing, following 400 percent jump in annual revenue

OnShift Software, a leader in web-based staff scheduling and shift management software for the healthcare industry, closed $3 million in series B financing. The funding will help OnShift meet the rising demand to manage healthcare costs.

OnShift is experiencing fast, significant growth, having achieved a 400 percent increase in annual revenue in 2011. The company’s customer base has surged to more than 600 in the past year. The funding will be used to accelerate OnShift’s sales and marketing strategies and expand its presence in the healthcare industry.

“The healthcare market is under a lot of pressure to get costs under control,” says OnShift CEO Mark Woodka. “Our customers need to manage their labor costs in long-term care and senior living. That collection of customers is primarily doing it manually. This funding will allow us to meet the demand, accelerate our growth and continue to deliver world class, innovative solutions to our healthcare clients.”

With OnShift, providers control labor costs by preventing overtime, managing open shifts, and operating with appropriate staffing levels

OnShift has 36 employees and plans to grow to 55 or 60 this year.

Source: Mark Woodka
Writer: Karin Connelly

cle-based milo biotechnology snags $250k investment from jumpstart

The effort to build a world-class biomedical industry in Northeast Ohio took another step forward last week, when JumpStart Inc. invested $250,000 in Milo Biotechnology, a new company formed to pursue promising treatments for muscle degeneration.

Columbia Station native Al Hawkins will serve as Milo's CEO. The former director of new ventures at Boston University, Hawkins returned to Northeast Ohio last year to serve as CEO in Residence at BioEnterprise, the Cleveland-based biotech incubation initiative, and to find emerging technologies worthy of investment. The adeno-associated virus (AAV) delivered follistatin protein developed and patented by researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus fit the bill. Follistatin can stimulate muscle growth, and early trials with mice and macaques suggest it could help patients suffering from muscular dystrophy and other conditions that weaken muscles, Hawkins says. According to JumpStart, a Phase I/II trial, funded by Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, is enrolling patients.
Hawkins will retain his position with BioEnterprise until Milo has raised at least $1.5 million. Longterm, his job will be to keep raising funds for the six to seven years it could take to get follistatin all the way through the FDA-approval process, or to hire a new CEO and find another new technology on which to build a company in Cleveland.
Moving back to Northeast Ohio, he says, “is something I considered for a couple years. There are great opportunities here.”
Source: Al Hawkins
Writer: Frank Lewis

Procter and Gamble forms unprecedented partnership to sell healthcare drugs, products in China

Cincinnati-based Procter and Gamble (P&G) recently announced the launch of PGT Health Care, a joint venture between P&G and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. of Jerusalem, Israel. The unprecedented partnership will allow two powerhouse corporations to expand into China and other burgeoning foreign markets.
“Together we’re better and have a larger geographical footprint,” says Tom Milliken of Global External Relations with P&G and PGT. “We’re combining two companies’ core strengths to more effectively deliver health care products to more customers.”
The alliance between the world’s largest consumer products maker and the world’s largest generic drug maker will allow PGT to reach consumers in emerging market countries such as Peru, Hungary and China. Strong consumer appetite for new products in such countries is fueling P&G’s domestic growth, Milliken says.  
“As a company with global headquarters in Cincinnati, this is important for us,” he says. “It will fuel our pipeline for over-the-counter drugs for many years ahead.”
Approval this month from anti-trust regulators in the U.S. and Europe paved the way for PGT’s rollout. Company officials say the new unit is expected to have revenues of approximately $1.3 billion, with the potential to reach $4 billion by the end of the decade.
Teva and P&G were thought to be a good match because of their complementary product lines and geographic footprints. PGT may now decide to combine P&G products such as Vick’s Cough Medicine with Teva supplements such as allergy medications, thus creating a new, blended product line to sell to consumers. Some of PGT’s new products will also be available in the U.S. and Canada.

Third Frontier grant will help save lives and money--and create business opportunities in Ohio

Three northeast Ohio businesses, with the aid of a $2.5 million grant from Ohio's Third Frontier, are researching first-of-their-kind imaging technology that will help detect medical conditions, such as cancer, sooner and save hospitals money by reducing the number of biopsies taken.
Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals and Philips Healthcare, partnered in the summer of 2010 to form the Philips Healthcare Global Advanced Imaging Innovation Center, where they have multiple projects aimed at combining the best attributes of CT, PET and MRI imaging systems to give doctors better tools in identifying breast cancer and take earlier action in heart attack patients.
The projects, which combine medical imaging technologies already in use, could eventually save hospitals millions in costs, give Ohio a leg-up on their commercialization and--most importantly--save lives.
In one project, the partners hope to combine PET (Positron Emission Tomography) with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems, both of which are currently used to detect early signs of breast cancer, to provide doctors with higher resolution imaging that will ultimately give doctors a clearer picture of what’s happening inside the body.
"The focus is on improving the spatial resolution, allowing us to find tumors much smaller than we can find now," says Dr. Raymond Muzic, the project's leader and an associate professor at Case Western. "MRI's, when used clinically, often show spots that look suspicious but turn out to not be a problem. Getting images with higher resolution will help us determine which spots are a problem and which are not."
The better imaging would reduce the number of biopsies doctors order to determine malignancy, saving hospitals thousands of dollars. It would also help doctors catch tumors much earlier, which could mean the difference between life and death.
According to the American Cancer Society, patients who are diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer, with tumors two centimeters or smaller, have up to a 20 percent greater chance of surviving cancer than patients who advance to Stage II, in which tumors are larger and start spreading to the lymph nodes.
The second project looks to do something similar--only with heart patients. Researchers are pairing cardiac perfusion technology with CT scanners, creating a novel imaging system that would allow emergency room doctors to assess the extent and location of damaged heart muscle when time is of the essence.
The partners are each contributing $1 million toward the projects, along with equipment and the time of researchers and engineers. Once the engineering is completed, University Hospitals and Case Western will oversee the clinical trials. Results are expected "within a few years," according to Muzic.
"The projects are a win-win for everybody involved," he said. "The goal is to develop a product here in Ohio that can be manufactured in Ohio by an Ohio company and marketed throughout the world. It's a win for each of the partners and it's a win for the state."

Cleveland businessman is headed to Vietnam after winning Fulbright

Michael Goldberg might be the most multi-talented Cleveland entrepreneur you’ll ever want to know. Not only did he co-found a company that invests in Israeli medical device companies connected to the region’s thriving health care economy, but now he’s moving to Vietnam after receiving a Fulbright to teach entrepreneurship there.

This January, the brains behind Bridge Investment Fund will try to convey what he’s learned in two decades of international business experience to students half a world away, where many may see venture capital as an intriguing, new concept.  

Goldberg has taught courses on both entrepreneurial finance and the economic impact of immigrant entrepreneurs as an Adjunct Professor at Case Western Reserve University. He will move to Hanoi, Vietnam for five months with his wife and three children to teach at the National Economic University there thanks to the Fulbright award. He plans to lecture on expanding access to early stage capital to Vietnamese companies. He is also hoping to work with leading venture capital funds and entrepreneurs in Vietnam to build networks there.

“The Fulbright will enable me to better connect my students, portfolio companies and network in Cleveland to expanding opportunities in Asia,” says Goldberg. 

Goldberg was also recently appointed as a Senior Advisor to Kaiwu Capital, a China-based venture capital fund. He plans to continue to work for Bridge Investments and Kaiwu Capital abroad, and says his work may lead to new opportunities at home.

“I’ve already had companies in Cleveland ask me to keep an eye out for business opportunities while I’m there,” says Goldberg, who adds that Ohio-based companies that are doing business in emerging markets are helping to fuel domestic growth.

If Goldberg needs further credence cities as disparate as Cleveland and Hanoi are increasingly interconnected, he has to look no farther than his daughter’s new cello teacher. She was referred by a Hanoi doctor who trained at the Cleveland Clinic.

“I’ve already been introduced to several people from Cleveland,” says Goldberg with a chuckle. “I like to call this the ‘Cleveland diaspora’ – we are everywhere. ”

Cincinnati design firm lands Chinese government contract

IG Studio, a collaboration between Cincinnati-based design firm GBBN Architects, Inc. and Kentucky-based Chinese firm IPPR International Engineering Corporation, won its first Chinese government contract this year designing the Sanya Cardiovascular Rehab Resort on Sanya Island. The win kicks off the two companies' plans of entering eight competitions annually over the next 10 years in the hopes of making IG Studio self-sufficient in three and internationally competitive in six.
Through IG Studio, the two companies are working to capture a piece of the exploding Chinese economy by designing 600- to 1,000-bed hospitals in large Chinese cities. Five hundred hospitals are planned across the country in the next 10 years. IG Studio, located in Beijing, has a staff of eight and is a 50-50 partnership between the two companies.
"(IG Studio) came together after a three-year collaboration on healthcare design projects," between GBBN and IPPN, says Greg Otis, director of Arts and Education for GBBN. "(IPPN) was looking for a western healthcare design influence to augment their designs. And we've been very successful in that work. But we wanted to get our brand out there in design and healthcare, and IPPR wanted to internationalize their business."
Because of the two companies similar goals, a meeting between the two giants earlier this year during a tour of the Toyota plant in Georgetown, Ky., led to what both companies hope will be a successful joint venture designing large hospitals across China. Companies vie to design these hospitals through invitation-only competitions held by the Chinese government, Otis explains.
GBBN is an international design firm with offices in Cincinnati, Lexington and Louisville, Ky., Pittsburgh and Beijing. The firm specializes in large scale building design in the healthcare, education, housing, community and cultural sectors. Local projects include the Newport Aquarium, Great American Ballpark, the Bank of Kentucky Center at NKU and UC's Tangeman University Center.
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