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Annual Sensor Summit to offer free registration, high tech networking in Dayton

The Ohio Innovation Sensor Summit offers a new benefit this year -- free registration to the state's annual showcase of sensor technology to be held June 25-27 in Dayton.

The University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) will host the event convening scientists, engineers, investors and others to spur collaboration and business opportunities within the technology. The summit gathers hundreds of sensor enthusiasts from industry, academia and governmental and military agencies for networking and to drive research commercialization.

"Attendees are going to realize that sensors have barely scratched the surface of the commercial market," says summit organizer Gil Pacey of UDRI's sensor system division. "This area is well positioned to take advantage of technologies such as biomedical, biomarker, security and cyber-security." The event will include educational sessions and exhibits on those topics and other emerging applications such as human factors, photonics, thin film and surface research.

Pacey notes sensors are crucial to ensure the functioning and maintenance of machinery. "Industry needs tons of sensors to make their product lines work better," he says. "Attendees might find some sensor technology OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to make their system better."

Sensor technology has been a major focus of the Ohio Third Frontier program. This year's summit will feature a UDRI-led partnership that recently won a $3 million OTF grant to improve surveillance systems used by law enforcement, campus security and government facilities.

Events will be held at the UDRI headquarters and various locations in downtown Dayton. Interested parties should email names of attendees and the affiliate organization to Yulie Halim.

Writer: Tom Prendergast

Brain surgeons get a practice run with simulator from Elyria-based Surgery Theater

For a number of years, pilots have used virtual reality simulators to practice critical missions before taking to the skies. Thanks to a revolutionary new virtual reality training tool developed by Elyria’s Surgical Theater, LLC, surgeons now have a way to practice brain surgery before setting foot in the operating room.
The Surgery Rehearsal Platform (SRP) simulator consists of a desk top computer, a portable laptop system, software, controllers and 3D glasses.
“Using standard CT and MRI images from any patient, the SRP generates accurate models in 3D that show the interaction between life-like tissue and surgical instruments,” explains Moty Avisar, Surgical Theater president and CEO. “The tissue responds realistically to actions taken by the surgeon, enabling pre-surgery planning and rehearsal with complete accuracy.”

Beyond practicing on standard CT and MRI images, surgeons can also use unique images taken of the patient who will be undergoing surgery.
“Using the SRP prior to a procedure enables a surgeon to evaluate, experiment and do a ‘dry run’ on his or her approach beforehand, resulting in a better-prepared surgeon,” Avisar states. “Studies will be done to confirm this, but our belief is that SRP training will lead to improved patient outcomes and reduced risk.”
The Surgery Rehearsal Platform received full FDA approval in February. The SRP’s unique patient-specific capability is one of the key innovations that led to FDA approval, he notes. According to Avisar, it’s the only patented and FDA-cleared training platform for cerebral and spine pre-surgery rehearsal in the marketplace.
The SRP, which took approximately three years to develop, supports several cerebral procedures, including aneurysm repair and tumor resection. The team is working to add capabilities to support other brain-related procedures and spine surgeries.
According to Avisar, the first SRP was recently sold to University Hospital Case Medical Center, where it is being used on a regular basis.

The company, which started with one person in 2010, received funding from the Ohio Third Frontier, private investors and angel groups. It plans to expand to 15 employees by the end of the year.
Source:  Moty Avisar, Surgical Theater, LLC
Writer:  Lynne Meyer

CincyTech success in 2011 mean higher goals for 2012

CincyTech closed out 2011 with pride. The organization’s annual Breakfast Meeting and Startup Showcase last quarter highlighted the start-up incubator’s $10 million investment in 28 companies and the creation of nearly 300 Ohio jobs.

CincyTech receives half of its funding from about two dozen local partners and individuals, matched by money from Ohio Third Frontier. The organization began its work in 2007.

"Thanks to the foresight of the state of Ohio in creating Third Frontier and of Ohio voters in approving it, we have been able to begin building what is now a burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem that is churning out new companies and new jobs at a rapidly increasing rate," says Bob Coy, president of CincyTech.

According to Coy, in 2011 CincyTech led 50 percent of all venture capital deals in the region this year and 90 percent of the venture-backed deals in the region were CincyTech portfolio companies. CincyTech gauges successful investments, in part, by the exit of member companies with increased ROI, by the funding its companies draw from private investors, and by the new opportunities created within the Ohio workforce as a result.

“As of June 30, 2011, we had created 207 jobs at an average annual salary of $63,000,” says CincyTech communications director Carolyn Pione Micheli.

“In addition, AssureRx Health (in Mason) and ThinkVine (in Blue Ash) were each hiring dozens of people this spring, bringing their jobs to about 50 a piece. That will give us a nice boost in the jobs numbers, in addition to our new investments in the second half of the year,” Micheli says. “You could say we were anticipating having created about 300 jobs by the end of 2011.”

2012 will see the launch of CincyTech’s investor-only secure document website featuring investment data. The organization will launch an expected $6-million investment fund and will continue to sponsor The Brandery, the Cincinnati-based consumer-marketing startup accelerator.

“The climate and the resources available for high-potential technology-based companies in Southwest Ohio have never been better,” Coy told the crowd at the Breakfast Meeting and Startup Showcase in November.

Beginning this Friday, CinciTech beneficiary companies will take part in the Northern Kentucky Startup Weekend. Startup Weekends nationwide 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch new ventures. The Northern Kentucky chapter is sponsored in part by the CincyTech-funded Brandery.
By Kitty McConnell
Sources: CincyTech

Phylogeny's world-class experts help bring important drugs to clinical trial

“Not many companies want to do what we do,” says Adel Mikhail, CEO of Phylogeny, Inc., in Columbus.

What Phylogeny does, according to Mikhail, is “help accelerate the discovery of new therapeutics and diagnostics for human health by enabling scientists to achieve excellence in functional genomic research.”

Phylogeny provides a range of expertise to help scientists at companies and institutes understand key biological processes about how genes function, he explains.

“Our clients in the corporate sector include most biotech companies and all the top-tier pharmaceutical companies,” he notes.

Scientists can outsource certain aspects of discovery research and development to Phylogeny instead of performing the studies in house themselves.

“Our experts perform the complicated research studies that are important for biological discovery,” he says. ”The type of research we provide requires a tremendous amount of experience and expertise and is difficult and costly to perform.”

Phylogeny was established in 2002 by Adel Mikhail and Craig Mello. Mello shared  the 2006 Nobel Prize in physiology for the discovery of RNAi, a long chain of nucleotide units that can turn genes off.

“By using RNAi, we explore the function of genes,” Mikhail explains. “RNAi can be used therapeutically to regulate genes involved in a disease process. It’s just one of the ways to study the biology of specific genes.”

Phylogeny’s scientists have been instrumental in bringing important drugs in the areas of cancer, obesity and osteoporosis to clinical trial.

According to Mikhail, their top three scientists have collectively authored more than 800 publications and can provide very quick insight to their clients.

The company has 21 employees, numerous contractors and part-time staff and received funding from Ohio’s Third Frontier initiative in both 2004 and 2010.

Source:  Adel Mikhail, Phylogeny, Inc.  
Writer:  Lynne Meyer

Timken, Stark State, Port Authority team up on nation's first R&D center for large wind-turbine gear

Technical students at Stark State College could be blown away by America’s first R&D center for large wind-turbine gearbox systems.

The Timken Company, Stark State and the Stark County Port Authority are building a Wind Energy Research and Development Center, the first of its kind in the U.S. Timken will use the facility to develop ultra-large bearings and seals on sophisticated equipment that replicates the operating environment of large multi-megawatt wind turbines. 

The $11.8 million research and development center will anchor Stark State’s new Emerging Technologies Airport Campus on 15 acres of property adjacent to the Akron-Canton Airport.

“We are very pleased to launch such an important project for the wind energy industry,” said Douglas Smith, Timken’s senior vice president of technology and quality at the center's groundbreakign in August. “Being able to simulate real-world conditions at full-scale puts us in a unique position to rapidly assess and qualify new solutions for the industry.”

According to Timken, the 18,000-square-foot center will secure 65 jobs directly, while creating a unique research practicum and technical certification program for Stark State students, offering them critical experience conducting research, developing new designs and testing large wind-turbine bearing systems.  It will also provide critical training for current and future technicians required by today’s wind turbine manufacturers and operators.

Joint funding for the project combines more than $6 million invested by Timken, $2.1 million from the Ohio Third Frontier, and $1.5 million in loans from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority's Advanced Energy Jobs
Stimulus Program.

Source: The Timken Company

For SMART Commercialization Center, MEMS the Word

Look out, Silicon Valley! One day Lorain County could be the MEMS capitol of the world, thanks to the new SMART Commercialization Center for Microsystems on the campus of Lorain County Community College (LCCC).

MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) employ mechanical and electrical properties that can measure or actuate a response that is easily managed by conventional electronics.

The Richard Desich SMART center -- named for the Lorain native, serial entrepreneur and philanthropist -- is a multi-user, shared-source facility for commercializing sensor products, including packaging, reliability testing and inspection of Microsystems and sensors.

Scheduled to open in January of 2013, the center will offer business opportunities and job creation in high-growth industries, as well as training for LCCC students. Worldwide, MEMS constitutes a $100-billion industry. Sensors and the Microsystems incorporating them enable technology in the biomedical, alternative energy, manufacturing, aerospace and defense industries.

The center is the result of economic development initiatives and partnerships, including GLIDE, which was created by the Lorain County Commissioners, Lorain County Chamber and LCCC, and the Innovation Fund. Last fall the college received a $5.5 million Ohio Third Frontier grant through Cleveland State University’s Wright Center for Sensor Systems Engineering.

“The college [LCCC] created something called GLIDE, the Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise, which is a suite of services for small businesses and startups . . . In the high-tech sector you often get people with great ideas who lack the business savvy to wrap the correct structure around those ideas,” says Daniel Ereditario; operations coordinator for the SMART  Center.  

The three-story, 46,000-square-foot facility will offer class 100, class 1,000 and class 10,000 clean rooms, general lab space and customer incubation areas. It will be connected to LCCC’s Entrepreneurship Innovation Center.

So far, fifteen companies have plans to utilize the center.

Source: Daniel Ereditario; Operations Coordinator
Writer: Patrick G. Mahoney       

BringShare aims to make marketing smarter for small businesses

Founders Justin Spring and Danielle Walton had small businesses in mind when they developed BringShare. The Columbus-based start-up is an Internet-based tool geared toward meeting the online marketing needs of entrepreneurs, small businesses and marketers.

BringShare provides clients with an integrated platform from which they are able to see all of their online marketing data in a single dashboard. The overall goal of the service is to help users make informed marketing decisions that are more efficient and cost effective.

"BringShare does what other data aggregating services don't," says Spring. "It compiles all online marketing initiatives and presents the data in a way that is consistent and makes it simple to identify which efforts provide the best return on investment, which approaches need to be modified, and those initiatives that aren't paying off."

The site was built to be user-friendly. BringShare users can easily generate reports and evaluate which of their marketing efforts are generating growth, and which aren't.

"The amount of time marketers and small businesses spend gathering data from different channels, developing marketing reports and analyzing the results can add up to 20 to 40 hours of time each month. BringShare simplifies that process to a matter of minutes," Spring says. He estimates that BringShare's average monthly cost is less than one hour of a marketing professional's time.   

BringShare currently has five full-time employees. Each of these positions were created within the last year, and the company anticipates future hiring.
TechColumbus, which provides OhioThird Frontier support to emerging businesses, provided BringShare with a $50,000 TechGenesis development grant.  Additionally, TechColumbus provided BringShare with $250,000 in pre-seed funding and $150,000 from its Co-Investment Fund. Investors include the Ohio TechAngels.

Source: Justin Spring, BringShare
Writer: Kitty McConnell

Photovoltaic windows? DyeTec could make it happen

Materials giant Dyesol Inc. and Ohio-based glass manufacturer Pilkington North America, both with a strong presence in northwestern Ohio, have teamed up to form DyeTec Solar. The venture, they hope, will become a truly transformative one.

"We like to say we'll be turning buildings into power plants," says Dyesol CEO Mark Thomas.

The partnership, funded with a $950,000 grant from the Ohio Third Frontier, will meld the glassmaker's expertise with new technology hatched in the Dyesol labs -- dye-sensitized solar cells. The materials, applied to common building materials, can turn any surface into energy-gathering solar panels.

Dye-sensitized solar cells (or DSCs) consist of film-like layers of an electrolyte and dyes. Like any solar cell, DSCs convert light into electrical energy. Unlike traditional solar cells, however, DSCs don't need direct sunlight. They're also comparatively inexpensive to produce and can be applied to any surface.

"It's a technology that has endless potential. Because its can be integrated into products that already exist and are already used, it's very cost-effective. But instead of a building just being a building, or a window just being a window, that building or that window can generate power and augment energy requirements," adds Thomas.

Dyseol had been working on the technology for the last 15 years, Thomas says. Three years ago, they moved beyond the research and development phase, striking a partnership with British Steel (NOW) to produce DSC-enhanced steel commercially available. DyeTec, the partnership between Dyesol and Pilkington, has just started manufacturing process for glass applications. The partnership expects to add almost 100 high-tech jobs as production nears.

When products using that glass hit the commercial markets in the next three to five years, consumers could charge car batteries by parking in the sun, charge their cell phone by setting it on their desk or see their electric bills drop when their windows are contributing to the power grid.

"We're very excited about the possibilities, and have very strong commitments from our partners," adds Thomas. "The potential is very clear, and very promising."

Source: Marc Thomas, CEO/Dysol
Writer: Dave Malaska

g-g-g-Global Cooling provides the deep freeze biomedical companies are looking for

An Athens-based company is primed to make a dent in the billion-dollar high performance cooling product market using an engine that's been around for almost 200 years.

Global Cooling LLC, a 16-year-old former engineering firm, is now producing ultra-low freezers for use in the biomedical field not only is based on green technology, but also promises huge savings.

The high-efficiency freezers, which keep its cargo as cold as -121 degrees Fahrenheit, are the first of their kind.

"If you go into a large bio-repository, or a hospital or a large pharmaceutical facility, you'll see a large number of ultra-low freezers employed for long-term storage of biological samples," explains Bill White, the company's director of marketing. "In some cases, you can find 400 or 600 of them at one place."

Global Cooling's new freezers perform the same task more uniformly, more quietly and at a fraction of the energy usage. They also use no oil, unlike traditional cooling products.

"Depending on the kilowatt-per-hour rate, it takes from $1,200-$2,000 a year just to operate (traditional units). What our ultra-low freezers do cuts the cost of that by about half. That's a serious benefit that is going to land on someone's bottom line."

Started in 1995 in Athens as an engineering firm, the company was primarily focused on patenting cooling technology that helped slow ozone layer depletion. Soon after, it determined Stirling engines, a 19th-Century invention that had been employed in steam engines, could be modernized as an improvement over the current technology.

The company began producing its own cooling products, culminating in the most recent model, which is now rolling off production lines. With investment from Ohio Third Frontier's Entrepreneurial Signature Program and TechGROWTH Ohio, it expanded its facility in Athens earlier this year. Its first three coolers off the new production line were delivered to Ohio University's Innovation Center last week, for use in its laboratories.

"It came full circle -- the university was involved in the early stages, helping with the business planning, and now they turned around and purchased the first three units off the line," says White.

Orders are already pouring in from bio-science companies both here and worldwide, and Global Cooling has a big future thanks to the innovation, he adds. The company expects to add 70 jobs over the next couple of years, most of them on the technical side.

Source: Bill White, Global Cooling LLC
Writer: Dave Malaska

Third Frontier funding helps company increase donor kidney odds, cleveland jobs

Quality Electrodynamics (QED) was one of the local recipients of Ohio Third Frontier funding for the development of an imaging system that will improve the way doctors evaluate whether a kidney is viable for donation.
The Cleveland-based company, working with the Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological Institute, CWRU, Toshiba Medical Systems and Canon, received $1 million for the development of specialty MRI coils for imaging donor kidneys before transplant to determine viability.
Currently, potentially viable kidneys are sometimes rejected for transplant, or there are complications after transplant. This technology will improve the chances of success as well as reduce the number of kidneys that are thrown away.
“The program will result in a turnkey system of equipment, analysis software and clinical protocols which will be marketed to transplant centers on a worldwide basis,” says John L. Patrick, chief technical marketing officer for QED.

“Recipients of kidneys from deceased donors would benefit in several ways: Higher confidence level that the transplanted kidney can be viable and better knowledge of its condition; increase of transplanted kidneys by reducing the number of viable kidneys discarded will increase the number of patients able to benefit from transplantation.”
Patrick says the technology should be on the market in less than two years, depending on how clinical trials go. QED expects to begin hiring additional people for development of the technology in the next few months.

“In the proposal we stated that 38 jobs would be created at QED within 3 years,” says Patrick. “In fact, we believe that number to be quite conservative.”
Source: John L. Patrick
Writer: Karin Connelly

This story originally appeared in sister publication Fresh Water Cleveland.

After 20 years, OSU�s Center for Automotive Resarch leads way in transportation technology

The Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research celebrates its 20th anniversary this week with a day-long seminar and celebration that will culminate in the unveiling of  blueprints for CAR’s expansion -- and the center’s roadmap for the next 20 years.

It's been a long, fruitful journey so far.

“We’ve grown from (virtually) nothing to a $7-million operation, and we expect to keep growing,” says David Emerling, industry collaboration director for the program.

CAR, an interdisciplinary research center within OSU’s College of Engineering, was founded 20 years ago with funds raised by OSU’s managing interest in the Transportation Research Center in Marysville (TRC Inc. is owned by Honda, which chartered the university to run the operation).

By the mid-90s, CAR had its own campus facility and today, its 35,000 square-foot digs house engine and vehicle dynamometers; acoustics labs, intelligent and autonomous vehicle laboratories; combustion research facilities; hybrid-electric propulsion, fuel cell and electrochemical energy storage facilities.

 “In our last ten years we’ve been very entrenched in battery research,” Emerling says. Leading the electric-race car pack since the 1990s, CAR’s engineering team set the 2010 land-speed record with the Venturi “Buckeye Bullet,”  the first fuel-cell vehicle to reach 300 mph.

The architectural studies to be unveiled at Friday’s ceremony are the initial steps in CAR’s expansion from a research center within the College of Engineering to the larger Transportation Research Institute of Ohio.
“We focus ourselves on all ground transportation, not just automotive,” says Emerling. With financial support from a $3-million Ohio Third Frontier grant and continued partnerships within the transportation industry in both Central Ohio and abroad, CAR’s progressive research encompasses everything from electric cars to heavy trucks, advanced electric propulsion to alternative fuels.

OSU CAR’s 20th anniversary begins Friday with three professional development seminars, a classic and specialty car and motorcycle sShow (during which visitors can test student-built prototype vehicles), followed by the unveiling of CAR’s future plans.

Source: David Emerling, CAR
Writer: Kitty McConnell

NoBull Innovations is catalyst for customers creating new products

New technologies are worthless if people and businesses can't easily use them. Sometimes it takes an outsider's view to take an innovation from a theory to its best practical use.

NoBull Innovation has been helping entrepreneurs and companies in Ohio and beyond develop new science and technology-based products, services and processes for more than three years. The owners have at times invested in some of these new technologies and helped launch startups in the process.

The Dayton firm works as an innovation catalyst creating new products through physical science, biology, electronics, and engineering. It works with clients who are early in the innovation process or who are trying to solve specific problems through technology.

NoBull was founded by former veteran Miami University chemistry professor Gilbert Pacey, former Procter & Gamble product developer and scientist Wolfgang Spendel and Todd Dockum, director of the Miami Heritage Technology Park. The company has two employees and is applying for federal grants that could allow them to hire two-to-three more in the next 12 months.

"People come to us who have a technology-based idea but need some help. We provide experience in developing technologies and help them get their idea to the next level. We also have people who have a good technology but are naive on the business end, and we can help them as well," Pacey says.

The company often helps clients discover multiple and new uses for their ideas beyond their preconceived notions.
"Sometimes people get tunnel vision and Wolf is really good at helping them see beyond that," Pacey adds.

Among the companies NoBull has worked with are Algaeventure Systems, Inc., a clean energy tech company in Marysville, and Applied Nanoinfusion and VCG Chromatography, both in Dayton. NoBull is partial owner of VCG.

NoBull is located in a facility of The Institute for Development and Commercialization of Advanced Sensor Technology, (or IDCAST).  IDCAST, is a research and development accelerator established through a $28 million Ohio Third Frontier grant.

Source: Gilbert Pacey, NoBull Innovation
Writer: Feoshia Henderson

Ohio TechAngels grows to largest angel group in U.S.

Ohio TechAngels may not have been Ohio's first angel fund, but since its founding in 2004 it has grown to become the largest --  not just in Ohio, but in the entire United States.

Earlier this month, Entrepreneur pegged the Columbus-based investment group as the largest in the country with 282 members, ahead of Los Angeles's Tech Coast Angels, with 263 members.

Cleveland-based North Coast Angel Fund also made the top 10 list, coming in fifth with 180 members. Ohio was the only state with two angel groups in Entrepreneur's top 10.

John Huston, who formed Ohio TechAngels in 2004, says there never was a plan to grow the group to any particular size.

"I moved back to Ohio from Boston, where I was a banker, and after a year I was bored," he remembers. "What I missed was working with CEOs."

But when he looked for an angel fund in which to become involved, he could find none in central Ohio, he says. So, to learn how to start his own, he enrolled in a boot camp run by Ohio's first angel fund -- Cincinnati-based Queen City Angels.

Since then, Ohio TechAngels has offered three funds and made 53 investments in 33 Ohio-based, tech-related companies, Huston says.

He says Ohio's angel environment has four things going for it. First is the Ohio Technology Investment Tax Credit, which gives angel investors a 25 percent tax credit for investing in Ohio-based tech startups. Second is the Ohio Third Frontier's Innovation Ohio Loan Fund, which lends money to early stage companies.

"If you're an investor, that's non-dilutive capital, which increases return for shareholders," Huston says. "It provides access to debt before any commercial bank will lend to them. Half of the companies we've invested in have been able to borrow under that program."

A third strength of Ohio's angel environment is what Huston calls "a great infrastructure of incubators" that are equipped to assist early stage companies in ways that help them succeed. And fourth are the pre-seed grants provided by the Third Frontier, he says, noting that a substantial part of Ohio TechAngel's three funds -- some $6 million -- has consisted of state grants that include money from the Third Frontier. 

In the end, Huston says, it's not about how many members Ohio TechAngels has, but how many companies they help.

"The myth is that angels are a bunch of geezers with a lot of money who are trying to make a lot more money," he says. "What we're really trying to do is make meaning -- by building entrepreneurial wealth."

Source: John Huston, Ohio TechAngels
Writer: Gene Monteith

Volunteer effort to thwart child abuse leads to possible multimillion dollar business

A volunteer effort to help prevent child abuse was the starting point for a what could become a multi-million dollar business for David Allburn.

A retired Air Force engineer, Allburn, 70, worked in counter intelligence during the Vietnam War era, and founded the Safe Harbor Foundation to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse about 10 years ago in Glouster.  The organization required its volunteers to be fingerprinted, but reliable, affordable, convenient methods of fingerprinting were not readily available.

That led Allburn to invent one.  Originally set up as part of his non-profit group, the fingerprinting was identified as a commercially viable idea, and he received $10,000 in grant money from the state of Ohio Third Frontier and help from Ohio University’s business school to get the venture rolling in 2009.

Today, National Fingerprint, uses “self capture packs” that are administered in the field by a network of contracted civilians, often notaries, who collect dozens of fingerprints that are mailed overnight to National Fingerprint’s lab in Glouster, which then selects the highest quality prints to forward to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s lab for cross checking. 

The whole process takes just a couple of days, and costs an organization less than $300 per individual.  Previously, fingerprinting meant trips to a police station or similar official office.  It could then take weeks to get results.

“Our niche market is really VIPs who need quick, accurate fingerprinting,” says Allburn.  “We offer concierge service, so these executives don’t ever have to leave their office.  They can have results in just a couple of days.”

Many types of businesses that work with financial or government transactions require fingerprinting of each executive in the chain of command, says Allburn.  His fingerprint product is one of the only easy-to-use options for these applications.

Background check companies also distribute the packs so businesses can use them to help screen new hires or other workers.

Allburn says he expects $1 million in revenue in the next year, and foresees it as a $10 million business in the next five years in the fast growing security sector.  He has four employees now, but anticipates hiring a dozen more by the end of 2012.  These will be primarily lab technicians and will all be disabled veterans, he says.

Source: David Allburn, National Fingerprint
Writer: Val Prevish

AtriCure continues to grow, snags Third Frontier grant

A $1-million Ohio Third Frontier award will help West Chester-based AtriCure develop and bring to market a next-generation version of its successful AtriClip.

The left atrial appendage is a saclike part of the heart that has internal peaks and valleys. During atrial fibrillation -- an abnormal rhythm of the heart -- the appendage can pool with blood, causing clots that can migrate to the brain and cause strokes.

The Gillinov-Cosgrove Left Atrial Appendage Exclusion system, which the FDA approved  last year for use in open-heart procedures, is designed as a more effective way to close blood flow between the appendage and the atria, thus eliminating the possibility of clots forming there. 

“Today, the clip is approved to be used during the open heart procedure,” says Julie Piton, VP Finance and Chief Financial Officer. The Third Frontier award will help fund development of a minimally invasive version of the device.

AtriCure was formed in 2000 to commercialize and market products developed by Enable Medical Technologies. In August 2005, AtriCure went public and subsequently purchased Enable.

Since then, the company has become a leading medical device company in cardiac surgical ablation systems and systems for the exclusion of the left atrial appendage. Cardiac ablation procedures are used to destroy small areas of the heart that may be cause abnormal heart rhythms.

The company boasted record revenues of $16.8 for the second quarter, with strong growth in international markets. Piton says the company has about 235 employees and has added about 10 in the last year.

Looking ahead, she says the company is poised to become “the first surgical company to get an atrial fibrillation indication” from the FDA.

What that means is that, if approved by the FDA, the company will be able to market its ablation products as a treatment for atrial fibrillation. Currently, they can only be marketed for the ablation of cardiac tissue.

“The only reason you would ablate cardiac tissue is to treat atrial fibrillation,” she says. “But we can’t market our outcomes and we can’t talk to physicians about atrial fibrillation, we can only talk about the technical attributes of our products.”

Source: Julie Piton, AtriCure
Writer: Gene Monteith

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