Written by Kevin Volz.
Ohio is home to some of the country’s top-rated hospitals and health systems. You’ll find the best and brightest scientists and medical researchers at world class institutions like the Cleveland Clinic and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. These medical professionals don’t just hone their skills – they also develop innovative medical technology ideas that are changing the face of medicine.
To help foster the growth of these ideas, Ohio Third Frontier awarded the Cleveland Clinic a $60 million grant in 2007 to establish the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center (GCIC). GCIC’s goal is to better patients’ lives by working with inventors in Ohio to cultivate their innovations and make them available to medical practitioners worldwide. Their specific focus is cardiovascular innovation.
“We are a focused seed stage program, meaning we award funding to promising individuals and startups in the cardiovascular innovation space,” said Mark Low, managing director of GCIC. “Many of our inventors have viable ideas but need guidance to commercialize these ideas. That’s where we come into play.”
While the center itself is located at the Cleveland Clinic, it really is a multi-institutional effort. Partner institutions include Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals in the northeast, The Ohio State University in central Ohio, The University of Cincinnati in the southwest and The University of Toledo in the northwest.
“We travel up and down the state constantly,” said Low. “Even though the physical home of the center is at the Cleveland Clinic, we award funding to inventors across Ohio without bias. If the research is being done in-state, it is eligible for GCIC funding.”
In addition to funding inventors in Ohio, GCIC also has 30 individual medtech companies all operating out of its facility in Cleveland, much like an incubator program. The GCIC building offers a combination of engineering, manufacturing, software, hardware and chemical spaces for these companies. In addition to the physical space, GCIC is home to mentors and staff that are all industry-experienced senior level product managers and developers. They help guide the incubator companies with design input, business strategy and market analysis.
“We help our companies develop their commercial milestones to attract investors,” said Low. “Our mentoring team includes venture capitalists, cardiovascular industry experts and heads of cardiovascular medicine at our partner institutions. They all come together to help our companies strategize the best routes to pursue.”
To date, Ohio Third Frontier’s investment in GCIC has helped attract 22 businesses to Ohio that weren’t here before and has added 861 jobs to the Ohio economy. GCIC has invested $18.6 million in 46 different innovations, 90% of which are continuing to progress with venture capitalists. Dozens of products developed at the center are now out in the market and helping patients around the world. For information on GCIC portfolio companies and their products, click here.