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Ohio Third Frontier : Innovation + Job News

7 Ohio Third Frontier Articles | Page:

Ohio Third Frontier targets tech-based economy with new programs

Ohio Third Frontier is enhancing its commitment to innovation, adding three new programs that identify methods to move technology products to the marketplace more quickly, resulting in more jobs and a stronger tech-based economy in Ohio.
“Each one of the new programs introduced by Ohio Third Frontier has a specific focus on advancing technologies to a place where they can be profitable in the market, creating companies and job opportunities in the process,” explains Katie Sabatino, Senior Media Strategist at the Ohio Development Services Agency’s Office of Communications. “By designing results-driven programs, Ohio’s economy will benefit and improve our foothold as a leader in innovation and advanced technology industries, which are key to our long-term success."
Requests for proposals were released in May for the following:

The Commercial Acceleration Loan Fund offers Ohio tech companies loans to assist in developing products and services where they may otherwise have difficulty securing funding due to the risks associated with developing technologies. Loans range from $500,000 to $2.5 million.

The Technology Commercialization Center program invests in new technologies with the goal of creating companies and jobs while helping businesses attract capital. Centers will commercialize research from universities, medical centers or nonprofit institutions and advance the technology into the marketplace. The program offers up to $25 million to create a center with the expectation that after four years it will be self-sustaining.

The Technology Asset Grant supports shared infrastructure projects needed to develop new technologies. Program funding can go towards facilities and/or equipment when a federal procurement agency or at least two Ohio companies believe it is critical to commercialize technology. The grant program offers up to $5 million per project for up to three years.
These programs, the state agency believes, will better streamline the flow of new technology products to the market.
“When developing and commercializing new products, roadblocks can slow the process, creating a gap where generating funding can be difficult,” Sabatino explains, adding that the new programs will help bridge the gap between funding and commercialization with the goal of impacting the Ohio economy.
Never one to rest, Sabatino says Ohio Third Frontier is always looking for new opportunities. “We are focused on continually evaluating Ohio’s strengths and growth opportunities and creating programs that benefit the state’s tech-based economy and create jobs.”
Source: Katie Sabatino
Writer: Joe Baur

Ohio Third Frontier awards $3 million to University of Dayton for advanced sensor tech development

Ohio Third Frontier has awarded the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) $3 million to continue development of an advanced situational awareness platform that will be compatible with multiple sensor products.
Situational awareness systems refer to products with sensors that respond to environmental changes, such as seismic waves, infrared light and motion. Kevin Klawon, a software systems group leader at UDRI, gives the example of a camera that responds to someone entering a backyard.
Currently, customers such as law enforcement, border patrol or first responders have to approach different manufacturers for different needs. Klawon’s team, however, envisions a simpler solution that is now within reach thanks largely to the Third Frontier award.
“We actually have a platform that we’re building where you can just plug sensors in and the platform itself will be able to understand what kind of sensor it is,” Klawon explains. He anticipates substantial savings for customers who will only have to invest in one platform that can be reconfigured depending on changing needs. In all, Klawon expects the software development to result in 30 new jobs over a three-year period.
Klawon insists the idea isn’t revolutionary. Over time, he says, technology tends to find ways to integrate into one, simple package; but it has yet to be done in the emerging field of situational awareness systems. Klawon believes UDRI's work in the field will further reinforce Dayton’s growing national reputation as a leader in sensor development.
“This is a market the Dayton region has started to develop,” says Klawon. “We lost most of our automotive sector, so others have had to come up. I think this is one of the emerging sectors that will prove to help the region and become what the Dayton region is known for.”
Source: Kevin Klawon
Writer: Joe Baur

Akron-based marketing firm keeps customers' digital info confidential

Life events, such as getting married, having a baby, buying a house or retiring, can impact the financial decisions individuals make. 
Akron-based Segmint offers software that confidentially analyzes and interprets consumer spending information. Using this information, financial institutions can build digital relationships with their clients, offering them specific products and services customized to meet their needs. These opportunities can lead to a competitive advantage.
“Instead of overwhelming customers with a constant stream of advertising messages, this enables financial institutions to satisfy consumer demand for personalized service and simplicity through highly-targeted offers exactly at the time their customers are ready to act,” explains Rob Heiser, Segmint President and CEO. “Financial institutions can optimize their marketing budget by delivering individualized online advertising campaigns to their customers quickly and efficiently.”
Segmint uses its patented marketing technologies to precisely target bank customers and assign Key Lifestyle Indicators ™ (KLIs) to them, he states. “These identifiers, coupled with our auto analytics platform, campaign management tool and ad delivery capabilities, enable financial institutions to effectively reach customers with timely and relevant offers on the bank’s website or online.”
What about maintaining customer confidentiality? “We respect the anonymity of personal information and rigorously adhere to privacy and security regulations,” Heiser notes. “All personally identifiable information remains secure with the financial institution through anonymous numeric codes assigned to each customer.”
Segmint’s current client base includes more than 60 credit unions, financial institutions and financial tech companies throughout the U.S.  Established in 2008, Segmint has 28 employees and has received Ohio Third Frontier funding.

Writer: Lynne Meyer

Third Frontier grant will help save lives and money--and create business opportunities in Ohio

Three northeast Ohio businesses, with the aid of a $2.5 million grant from Ohio's Third Frontier, are researching first-of-their-kind imaging technology that will help detect medical conditions, such as cancer, sooner and save hospitals money by reducing the number of biopsies taken.
Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals and Philips Healthcare, partnered in the summer of 2010 to form the Philips Healthcare Global Advanced Imaging Innovation Center, where they have multiple projects aimed at combining the best attributes of CT, PET and MRI imaging systems to give doctors better tools in identifying breast cancer and take earlier action in heart attack patients.
The projects, which combine medical imaging technologies already in use, could eventually save hospitals millions in costs, give Ohio a leg-up on their commercialization and--most importantly--save lives.
In one project, the partners hope to combine PET (Positron Emission Tomography) with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems, both of which are currently used to detect early signs of breast cancer, to provide doctors with higher resolution imaging that will ultimately give doctors a clearer picture of what’s happening inside the body.
"The focus is on improving the spatial resolution, allowing us to find tumors much smaller than we can find now," says Dr. Raymond Muzic, the project's leader and an associate professor at Case Western. "MRI's, when used clinically, often show spots that look suspicious but turn out to not be a problem. Getting images with higher resolution will help us determine which spots are a problem and which are not."
The better imaging would reduce the number of biopsies doctors order to determine malignancy, saving hospitals thousands of dollars. It would also help doctors catch tumors much earlier, which could mean the difference between life and death.
According to the American Cancer Society, patients who are diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer, with tumors two centimeters or smaller, have up to a 20 percent greater chance of surviving cancer than patients who advance to Stage II, in which tumors are larger and start spreading to the lymph nodes.
The second project looks to do something similar--only with heart patients. Researchers are pairing cardiac perfusion technology with CT scanners, creating a novel imaging system that would allow emergency room doctors to assess the extent and location of damaged heart muscle when time is of the essence.
The partners are each contributing $1 million toward the projects, along with equipment and the time of researchers and engineers. Once the engineering is completed, University Hospitals and Case Western will oversee the clinical trials. Results are expected "within a few years," according to Muzic.
"The projects are a win-win for everybody involved," he said. "The goal is to develop a product here in Ohio that can be manufactured in Ohio by an Ohio company and marketed throughout the world. It's a win for each of the partners and it's a win for the state."

VasoStar helping surgeons "tap" through deadly occlusions

The manual “tapping” of surgeons, intent on breaking through life-threatening occlusions, could soon be replaced by vibrating tip guidewires, says Stephanie Harrington, chief operating officer of VasoStar Inc. The company, a subsidiary of Frantz Medical Group in Mentor, is collaborating with Cleveland Clinic and Interplex Medical LLC of Milford, on the plaque-busting technology.

The company was formed in 2007 to “develop technology invented in Israel and brought to us through one of our clinician colleagues at Stanford University,” says Harrington. The vibrating guidewires let cardiologists open up totally blocked arteries much faster than the current manual method.

Lesions that have been there for some time, called chronic total occlusions, become calcified and very difficult to penetrate with a tiny guidewire only .014 in. diameter. Currently, the clinician is about 300 cm away from the lesion, outside of the patient’s leg, gently tapping to force the guidewire through the calcified surface.

“What we’ve done is increase the speed of the tapping and move that tapping source up near the point of the lesion,” says Harrington. The power source, a tiny electromagnetic engine, creates a high-frequency vibration. “This will allow patients with CTOs to be treated with interventional techniques versus invasive bypass surgery.”

The Ohio Third Frontier Commission, which supports the commercialization of products in the biomedical, medical imaging and sensors industries, recently awarded VasoStar $1 million to help develop the technology, which is still in the product-development stage. Harrington said clinical trials should start in about 18 months. The company employs four “fulltime equivalents” on loan from Frantz Medical and Harrington expects to add 12 to 15 positions over the next two years.  

Source: Stephanie A. S. Harrington, Frantz Medical Development Ltd.
Writer: Patrick G. Mahoney

Arteriocyte to expand in Cleveland , add 15 to 20 new jobs

Arteriocyte, a leading clinical-stage biotechnology company with offices in Cleveland and Hopkinton, Mass., has been awarded a $1 million grant by the Ohio Department of Development's Third Frontier Commission. The company, which develops proprietary stem cell and tissue engineering based therapies, will use the grant for the development and commercialization of hematopoietic stem cell expansion for clinical applications.

The move is part of the Ohio Third Frontier Biomedical Program to accelerate the company's Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) of its NANEX technology for clinical use under the product name HemaEx.

"The technology takes a small amount of stem cells and gets a large amount of stem cells," explains Adam Sorkin, Arteriocyte's director of research and development. "We are converting our existing process that is suitable for research to a process that is suitable for use in humans."

Arteriocyte's therapies help find cures for chronic heart disease and peripheral artery disease, among other diseases.

The company, which was founded in 2004 as a spin-off out of Case Western Reserve University, has seen rapid growth in the past couple of years, going from four employees to 80. The expansion will create between 15 and 20 jobs in the production facility.

Source: Adam Sorkin
Writer: Karin Connelly

This story originally appeared in hiVelocity's sister publication, Fresh Water Cleveland.

RGP, University of Toledo, form joint partnership on Third Frontier

A joint venture between the Regional Growth Partnership and the University of Toledo is expected to streamline administration of incubation services and support for technology startups in northwest Ohio.

Two programs administered by the RGP -- the Rocket Ventures program, which invests Ohio Third Frontier funds in technology companies, and Launch, a tech-based business incubation program -- will now be run from University of Toledo Innovation Enterprises.

Four technology-focused staff members from the RGP moved to the university earlier this month.

"The scope of work, the program itself, what your'e trying to accomplish, none of those things will change at all -- you simply are taking both organizations that should be very closely aligned and taking the best of both worlds," says Dean Monske, president and CEO of the RGP. "Each one had great resources but they each lacked something and the other one had exactly what the other one lacked. And we're going to do it with less dollars."

Some type of consolidation of business assistance programs has been discussed in northwest Ohio for some time, says Dan Slifko, chief operating officer of the partnership (which will operate under the Rocket Ventures name), and director of the Rocket Ventures Fund.

"Under one roof, RGP was doing the traditional economic development activities of attraction and retention, while also helping technology based businesses and early stage companies," he explains. "As time went on, many counties and a multitude of economic development agencies were doing the same things and competing for money."

While the RGP was able to provide only "virtual" incubation services through the Launch program, physical incubation space is provided at the University of Toledo. Additionally, the new arrangement will allow young technology companies working with Rocket Ventures to more easily tap the research and academic strengths of the University, which has been instrumental in spinning off companies within the solar industry and other technology sectors, Slifko says.

Sources: Dan Slifko, Rocket Ventures, and Dean Monske, the Regional Growth Partnership
Writer: Gene Monteith
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