Cleveland’s Rise as the BioScience Capital of the U.S.

The city boasts world-renowned clinical, research and educational institutions dedicated to medical innovation

Cleveland is a destination for many things; fantastic breweries, the second largest performing arts district in the country, professional sports teams, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and an exciting waterfront downtown, to name a few. But it’s also home to other attractions, like world-class medical innovation driven by the collective efforts of hospitals, research institutions and universities committed to making Northeast Ohio the center of biomedicine in the U.S.

“Cleveland is a global leader in healthcare innovation,” said Aram Nerpouni, President and CEO of BioEnterprise, an Ohio Third Frontier partner which connects different players in the bioscience community, providing capital and support. Ultimately, BioEnterprise takes discoveries from the lab to the marketplace. “It is home to more than 700 bioscience companies with world-renowned institutions focusing on medical innovation as a driver of economic growth and attracting collaborators from around the world.”

When these individually impressive institutions work together, discoveries are made, companies are formed, jobs are created and an industry innovates. That’s what we see in Cleveland today, but it wasn’t always such a hotbed for biomedicine.

In the early 2000s, community leaders were considering how to address the downsizing of—and loss of jobs—in traditional manufacturing industries like steel, which Cleveland had long been heavily invested in. They recognized an opportunity to build upon the strong national reputations of Cleveland’s local health systems, like the Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth Medical Center and University Hospitals—and become a biomedical center in the U.S.

A new focus was placed on entrepreneurship and innovation. Public and private partnerships formed between previously disconnected organizations are supporting the commercialization of breakthroughs from these hospitals and universities.

In less than 20 years, Cleveland’s biomedical industry has grown to more than 700 companies employing more than 230,000 workers—and that’s not including hospitals in the region. Among the most successful is local healthtech startup CoverMyMeds—supported by Ohio Third Frontier partners BioEnterprise and JumpStart—which was acquired in 2017 for over $1 billion. And that’s just one example; companies like Surgical Theater, Trailhead Biosystems and Abeona Therapeutics are growing and transforming medicine.

Startups and spin-off companies find a home in Cleveland’s Health-Tech Corridor, which connects biomedical, healthcare and tech companies with area hospitals and universities. This innovation hub accounts for more than 1,800 new jobs, 500,000 square feet of new or renovated office and lab space, and more than $4 billion of investment since 2008.

“With a community of over 180 innovative health-tech and high-tech firms and incredible proximity to world class health care and research institutions, the rapidly growing Cleveland Health-Tech Corridor is a phenomenal place for innovation,” said Jeff Epstein, Executive Director of MidTown Cleveland. “The research, invention, commercialization and investment going on in the HTC is making Cleveland a premier destination for bioscience innovation.”

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