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Cleveland Clinic Innovations launches spinoff to create breast cancer vaccine

Cleveland Clinic Innovations has launched a spinoff company, Shield Biotech, out of the Lerner Research Institute. Led by Vincent Tuohy, the company is developing a vaccine for breast cancer.

The vaccine uses the body’s own immune system to fight off and kill cancerous tumors. Tuohy, who serves as Shield’s chief science officer, has been working on this theory for the past 11 years. 
The next step is to secure FDA approval for human clinical trials, probably within the next two years. Researchers found that a single vaccination could prevent breast tumors from occurring in mice genetically bred to develop breast cancer, while also inhibiting the growth of already existing breast tumors. The research was originally published in Nature Medicine in 2010.
“It works in animals,” says Tuohy. “It’s safe and very effective. We’d like to see women live longer without tumors, not women live longer with tumors.”
Tuohy sees the vaccine as particularly effective in breast cancers that are aggressive and tend to recur. “Triple-negative breast cancer has a higher recurrence rate than other forms of breast cancer and is insensitive to current forms of adjuvant therapy,” he says. “It’s the predominant form of breast cancer that occurs, for example, in women with BRCA1 mutations. “
Tuohy sees potential in eventually immunizing against prostrate and ovarian cancers as well. 

Source: Vincent Tuohy
Writer: Karin Connelly

Innovation Summit will draw more than 1,000 to Cleveland

The Cleveland Clinic’s annual Medical Innovation Summit will be the first event held at Cleveland’s brand new Global Center for Health Innovation. The event will be held October 14 through 16, and organizers expect it to draw more than 1,200 people.
"We’ll have CEOs from major companies, investors, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs,” says Gary Fingerhut, acting executive director and general manager of information technology commercialization at the Clinic. “Deals come out of this summit. Past innovation deals have been made on the buy-side and in research.”
More than 1,000 jobs and $700 million in investments have been created from the regional spinoff companies.
On the first day, 12 startup healthcare companies will have a chance to pitch their companies to a panel of executives. “The winner gets a year engagement with StartUp Health Academy."

The theme this year is "Finding Balance through Innovation: Obesity, Diabetes and the Metabolic Crisis." Fingerhut says the topic was chosen because of the growing international concern about diabetes. "Clearly, it's an economic problem in the world," he says. Demonstration and panel discussions will focus on the impacts of type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Mike Roizen and a panel of experts will discuss the Clinic's top 10 medical innovations for 2014. hiVelocity readers can receive a discount to the summit. Go to the registration page and use promo code FRE2013 for a special $500 rate on registration.

Source: Gary Fingerhut
Writer: Karin Connelly

Great Lakes NeuroTechnologies set to expand telemedicine for Parkinson's treatment

For the last several years, Great Lakes NeuroTechnologies (GLNT) has been using telemedicine technology to study Parkinson's disease. The Cleveland-based provider of patient-centered diagnostic and therapy systems is planning to expand its approach by adding real-time video conferencing to its existing Kinesia HomeView™ innovation.
The technology is currently under development at GLNT with clinical validation studies planned for this fall. Adding video conferencing to currently available remote monitoring of Parkinson's patients will keep patients engaged in treatment, says Dr. Dustin Heldman, biomed research manager at GLNT.
"Patients will be more likely to take medications when they're supposed to, and (through the system) will be assessed more regularly," says Heldman.  Through the video feed, patients living far from treatment centers won't have to make potentially pricey trips for medication adjustments and other routine maintenance, notes the technology group research manager.
The current Kinesia system includes motion sensors patients wear and a broadband integrated tablet which users employ to follow video instructions and complete motor assessments. Telemedicine is a growing healthcare market trend designed to improve patient care and accessibility. Applications include live video conferencing, remote monitoring and store and forward technologies.   
This type of technology is especially useful for monitoring Parkinson's disease, a neurodegenerative movement disorder that can afflict its sufferers with a variety tremors, slowed movements and gait abnormities. These symptoms can change daily in type and severity, making a patient's condition difficult to determine during a short office visit. Creating a visualization tool for such a complex disease will only help in its treatment, Heldman says.

Source: Dr. Dustin Heldman
Writer: Douglas J. Guth

Biomotiv announces $46m raised in effort to speed medicines to market

BioMotiv, a pharmaceutical accelerator formed last year to speed early-stage medical developments to market, announced last week that the company has now raised $46 million in total capital, adding Nationwide Mutual Insurance and several individual investors to original investors University Hospitals and the Harrington Family Foundation.

Additionally, BioMotiv announced Monday that the company has formed a multi-million dollar, seven-year partnership with San Diego-based Torrey Pines Investment, a specialty life sciences investor. “We have now raised $46 million in total funding,” says BioMotiv CEO Baiju Shah. “This further investment partnership will expand capital available for projects by up to $20 million through co-investment by Torrey Pines.”
Shah says BioMotiv has just started to identify and develop projects of interest. The partnership with Torrey Pines expands the scope of BioMotiv’s work. “We’re pleased with the prospective partnership,” says Shah. “It’s been in the works for about nine months now. In the partnership we will jointly invest in projects -- one in the cancer area and two projects in neuroscience.”
Shah says BioMotiv is also working on developments on several other fronts, including anti-inflammatory and blindness. “Our mission is to accelerate breakthrough discoveries in medications that actually benefit patients,” says Shah. “These are medications that are in the early stages of clinical validation -- phase one or two patient studies. Once we prove it works in patients, then we’re in a place to partner with agencies to get it to market.”
Cleveland is the hot spot for companies like BioMotiv, Shah says, making it attractive to companies like Torrey Pines. “Cleveland is an incredible medical innovation environment,” he says. “We are on the global radar for medical innovations, so it’s easy for us to find partners. In many ways, healthcare is our defining industry as a community.”
BioMotiv currently has eight employees, but Shah says they will be adding staff as the company continues to grow.

Source: Baiju Shah
Writer: Karin Connelly

New Cleveland-based biomed company will speed delivery of stem cells to patients

Arteriorcyte, a developer of stem cell products and medical devices in Cleveland, has launched Compass Biomedical to speed up the delivery to patients three Arteriocyte stem cells products. Created in December 2012, Compass officially got underway in June.
“The purpose of Compass is to help solve the issues in getting stem cells to patients,” says Kolby Day, Compass Biomedical vice president and general manager of research and development. “The challenges are having enough stem cells and improving the tools used.”
Compass supplies three product lines used to grow stem cells for research and in clinical settings. The products mimic bone marrow and promote the growth of stem cell cultures. “Arteriocyte is more the research and development company, while Compass is more of the team that sells, markets and gets those products into the hands of people who can use them,” says Day.

Compass has hired four people since December. As Arteriocyte develops new products, Day expects Compass will in turn expand its team. “We want to continue to build the sales team and continue finding products to sell,” he says. “We anticipate bringing in at least two to three products in the next six months, and we will be hiring based on demand.”

Source: Kolby Day
Writer: Karin Connelly

The world's most powerful MRI lands in northeast Ohio

After more than a two-year wait and construction of its very own building, the Cleveland Clinic took delivery of and installed a 7 Tesla full-body MRI last month. It is the only one of its kind in northeast Ohio, and one of only about a dozen in the country.
While the 1.5 Tesla MRI is more common, and the Clinic even has several 3 Tesla MRIs, the 7 Tesla provides a better look, even down to the cellular level. “It has special resolution where we can actually see much finer detail than a 3 Tesla or 1.5 Tesla,” says Mark Lowe, director of high field MRI at the Clinic. “With this higher special resolution you can see things you’ve never seen before.”
The MRI will be used for neuroscience research into disorders such a multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s. The finer detail will allow researchers to see focal dysplasia in epilepsy patients, or greater vascular detail in angiography. The acquisition of the new machine created two new jobs, with the potential for more future jobs with grant funding.
“The bottom line is, for years MRI has been very good at imaging soft tissue contrast, but it’s not as good in spatial resolution,” says Lowe. “This provides that spatial resolution.”
It was no easy task to get the 40-ton machine to Cleveland. Lowe and his team secured funding for the $10.5 million endeavor two and a half years ago. It was scheduled for delivery in December. But a shortage of helium, which is used to cool the MRI magnet, caused further delays.
The 7 Tesla is housed in a specially constructed building next to the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis. The roof was lifted off the building to lower the MRI into place, which also comes with 350 miles of superconducting wire.

Source: Mark Lowe
Writer: Karin Connelly

Seventh healthcare organization joins Cleveland Clinic HC Innovation Alliance

Cleveland Clinic Innovations (CCI) announced last month that Wisconsin’s Marshfield Clinic Applied Sciences is the seventh clinic to join the Clinic’s Healthcare Innovation Alliance. The collaboration will help Marshfield develop and commercialize its innovations and improve healthcare.
The alliance, formed two years ago based on CCI’s 13 years of experience, is a way for the Clinic to share its knowledge while also improving upon its reputation within the healthcare industry. In Marshfield’s case, the Clinic is hiring a senior commercialization officer who will be embedded in Wisconsin.
The officer will help to advance diagnostic tools and treatments created by Marshfield Clinic physicians, researchers and staff. The Innovation Alliance also will foster the transfer of Marshfield Clinic technology into commercialization.
“It’s about getting the technology quickly to the patient,” says Brian Kolonick, associate general manager of the Innovation Alliance. “It’s all collaboration, these are not bilateral relationships. We look for ways to collaborate, to share knowledge.”
There are 65 Clinic employees working within the alliance. “If someone in the alliance has an idea, we get a person on the ground there,” says Kolonick. “We find the right person with the right expertise. It’s getting the right people to the table.”
Conversely, the Clinic also learns about what other researchers are doing around the country. “We’re about going in there and getting fresh ideas, flushing them out and commercializing them,” says Kolonick. “It’s about getting in there and shaking trees.”
The Innovation Alliance gets a percentage of the revenues from any idea that goes to market.

Source: Brian Kolonick
Writer: Karin Connelly

Zuga Medical receives FDA approval, JumpStart investment for dental implant system

Zuga Medical, a medical device company, recently received a $250,000 investment from JumpStart to launch its dental implant system. In April Zuga received FDA approval for its system, which allows a general dentist to perform implants using a screw, a procedure previously done only by oral surgeons.
“Our patent-pending technology makes it simpler, easier and more cost-effective for both the dentist and the patient,” says Zuga CEO Steve Cornelius, who met the company’s founder and CSO, Chan Wang, a year-and-a-half ago through BioEnterprise and joined the board of directors. He then became CEO. With 15 years of experience in the dental industry, Cornelius was intrigued with Wang’s product. “Chan had a vision of making things simple for general dentistry.”
Zuga will use the JumpStart investment to conduct a soft launch with eight to nine local dentists. Those dentists will take a training course on placing the implants next month. “We’re using the local soft launch in Cleveland to prove out our business model and raise the next round of investments,” Cornelius says. “Our vision is to create a dental company right here in Cleveland.”
As Zuga grows, Cornelius hopes to hire three to four sales reps, a marketing person and a customer service rep by the end of the year.
Zuga Medical has also received investments from the Cuyahoga County North Coast Opportunities Fund and the Innovation Fund.

Source: Steve Cornelius
Writer: Karin Connelly

Wright State University breaks ground on $37 million research facility

Wright State University (WSU) has broken ground on a $37 million research facility, priming the region to take a leading role in the neuroscience field.
Dr. Robert Fyffe, Vice President for Research at WSU, says the idea of the new facility is to bring people together from different fields. “This facility will bring create synergies between people and lead to innovation,” he says. “If you can get people working together side-by-side with the recourse you need for truly collaborative, disciplinary work, you can actually achieve much more than if people are working in isolation.”
The new facility, scheduled for completion in February of 2015 and occupancy by spring of 2015, will house a diverse array of equipment necessary for the variety of fields of research that will be taking place. “There will be the ability to do everything from cellular molecular imaging to looking at MRI scans,” details Fyffe. “There will also be a good deal of specialized equipment in terms of advanced manufacturing and related areas.”
Similar to the vision of the facility itself, funding was made possible by what Dr. Fyffe describes as “a number of mechanisms,” including the state of Ohio’s budget for higher education and bonds issued by the university to assist with construction. This, combined with President Obama’s recently launched Brain Initiative, shows “neuroscience is an area that is moving again to the forefront of research,” Fyffe believes. Best of all, it allows Dayton and the state of Ohio to lead the way in research and innovation.
“I think it will be a strong beacon to continue to attract neuroscience research,” says Fyffe of the new research center, noting the alignment of interests between WSU and nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. “The state is beginning to prime itself to step forward in the neuroscience field.”
Source: Dr. Robert Fyffe
Writer: Joe Baur

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

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. ”
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