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University-Industry Engagement Advisor

NE Ohio Medical University start-up accelerator exceeds expectations


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: July 3rd, 2019

A rural start-up accelerator at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) has provided a major spark to faculty start-ups and entrepreneurship in the region.

Launched in 2014, the REDIzone offers working spaces, networking opportunities and other resources to start-ups created by NEOMED faculty and staff. More than 60 companies have received support from REDIzone, and the accelerator has helped faculty file 119 patent applications and raise over $36 million in funding.

“It has well exceeded our expectations,” says Elliot Reed, executive director of REDIzone.

The accelerator is also unique in that it offers start-ups access to the region’s only animal testing center available for independent research. This is a major advantage for Vahagn Ohanyan, a NEOMED researcher who launched the start-up Ohan Cardiovascular Innovations based on his cardiovascular research.

“The animal facility is a big plus for all the incubator companies,” says Ohanyan, whose technology involves a procedure to incubate mice and rats.

Another REDIzone success story is CollaMedix Inc., a medical device company that has created a collagen-based surgical mask. According to founder and chief technology officer Subba Shankar, testing the product on sheep at the REDIzone facility was crucial to the development of the technology.

“The people at REDIzone were extremely helpful in getting the project set up, and the people at the animal facility were incredibly gracious and helpful,” says Shankar.

NEOMED is currently seeking $1.5 million in funding to build a new 15,000- to 25,000- square-foot building to house six to 10 growth-stage companies. The building is slated to open in 2020.

Source: Crain’s Cleveland Business

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