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akron bioinvestments fund seeks to attract biomedical companies

Akron has become known as a hub for biomedical companies in recent years, and now a new fund is seeking to further cultivate growth in that sector. The $1.5M Akron BioInvestments Fund targets high-growth companies in orthopedics, wound healing, cardiovascular science, biomaterials, medical devices and other areas for investments.

“While a small part of the Fund supports product development, the main focus is on supporting companies that are 2-3 years away from generating revenues," explains Dr. Zev Gurion, Executive Director of the Akron BioMedical Corridor. "We want companies we invest in to repay the loan so that the Fund will not become depleted over time. That’s why the business potential of the company is considered, as well as economic development elements."

Companies that receive investments must maintain an Akron headquarters or plan to establish a local presence, with an emphasis placed on the Biomedical Corridor. The Fund gets most of its backing from private organizations such as Medical Mutual, First Energy, Cascade Capital and NEOMED. The City of Akron created the fund through its Akron Development Corporation.

The Fund is composed of two parts. The Rapid Commercialization Loan Fund provides low-interest loans to companies that are close to commercialization. The Product Development Fund supports biomedical startups by financing proof of concept, prototyping, market assessment and business-plan development.

Committees made up of representatives from the University of Akron, county and regional government, private businesses and regional organizations make recommendations to the Fund’s board. Cascade Capital acts as the Fund Manager.

Zurion says that the Fund has made two investments so far, a $25,000 grant and a loan for $200,000. The Fund received six qualified applications in the first partial round of applications which ended December 31.

Source: Dr. Zev Gurion
Writer: Patrick G. Mahoney
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