Northeast Ohio’s growing biomedical innovation scene

The Netherlands has a great innovation ecosystem for growing HealthTech startups.

This is mainly due to the excellent research infrastructure, close partnerships between clinical experts and technical experts, good collaborations between hospitals, companies, and research institutes, and the relative ease in starting clinical trials.

Startups coming out of this ecosystem will often look abroad for scaling opportunities. For some of them, Northeast Ohio could be a great fit.

Are you a HealthTech startup looking to go international? Then read on!

From bench to bedside

The biomedical sector of Northeast Ohio, or NEO, boasts an attractive innovation ecosystem for international biomedical companies aiming to scale their business in the US. It offers world-class research, clinical and educational institutions, access to public and private funding, and an abundance of talent.

Northeast Ohio is a hub with 62 hospitals including the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, Akron Children’s Hospital, Summa Health System, Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and University Hospitals. There are more than 230,000 healthcare and bioscience workers employed in Northeast Ohio, and there are seven educational institutions that offer bioscience Ph.D. programs in the region.

NEO hosts more than 700 biomedical businesses, and is ranked fifth in the world for neurotech healthcare and sixth for neurodevice companies. What also makes Northeast Ohio an interesting biomedical innovation center are the resources (from research to manufacturing and access to patient population) that can take ideas from “bench to bedside” in one market.

Growing big, growing strong

The biomedical industry in NEO is rapidly growing. This growth is fueled by innovative regional collaborations, a diverse range of funding sources for companies, and major biomedical real estate projects, including the Global Center for Health Innovation in Cleveland.

In the past four years, early-stage bioscience and health IT companies have raised more than $2.3 billion, and the innovation and economy continue to grow. Cleveland witnessed a record number of bioscience acquisitions in 2015, totaling more than $4 billion. Notable exits include CardioInsight to Medtronic, Explorys to IBM, and EnvisionRX to Rite Aid.

Places to be

Supportive resources for HealthTech startups and scale ups are focused in three main locations: the Cleveland Health-Tech Corridor, the Akron Biomedical Corridor, and the Research, Entrepreneurship, Discovery and Innovation zone (REDIzone).

The Cleveland Health-Tech Corridor

This 1,600-acre corridor is interesting for biomedical, healthcare and technology companies looking to take advantage of close proximity to world-class healthcare institutions.  

Such institutes include the Cleveland Clinic, which ranks among America's best hospitals and has top ratings published in U.S. News & World Report; University Hospitals, which has a renowned center for cancer treatment; business incubators; academic centers, including Case Western Reserve University; and more than 170 high-tech companies engaged in the business of innovation.

The Akron Biomedical Corridor

This is the designated soft-landing place for international HealthTech related startups in downtown Akron between the Biomaterial Center, the University of Akron and the campuses of the Akron General Medical Center, Akron Children's Hospital, Summa Health System, and the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron.

With Akron representing the perfect cross section of US population, these hospitals benefit from being in the optimal environment for fast and effective clinical trials, market testing and advanced purchasing. Considering the excellence and focus of universities and the health system in and around the Akron Biomedical Corridor, companies focused on orthopedics, wound healing, burns, imaging and advanced functional materials applications and devices are likely to find an interesting landing place for their business.

Research, Entrepreneurship, Discovery and Innovation zone (REDIzone)

At Northeast Ohio Medical (NeoMed), just 20 minutes west of Akron, early-stage biomedical companies are supported with office space, lab space and lab equipment. Startups also have access to Institutional Review Board certification for clinical trials, a Comparative Medicine Unit, technology transfer assistance, and mentorship from renowned faculty, scientists and an entrepreneur in residence.

This medical incubator could be valuable for companies working in the fields that NeoMed is mainly focused on, including wound healing, pharmaceuticals, hearing, heart and blood vessel diseases, community-based mental health, musculoskeletal, and neurodegenerative disease and aging.

Some areas of excellence in the Netherlands are imaging and radiology, regenerative (including tissue engineering, 3D printing and biomaterials), robotics (such as rehabilitation and exoskeletons), aging and neuro control systems, so some Dutch startups and scale ups working in these spaces may benefit from scaling into the innovation ecosystem in NEO that supports their area of expertise.