A for-profit company that plans to commercialize neurotechnology-related innovations at Ohio State University received a major boost today with the approval of $21 million in state Third Frontier funding.
The cash injection over four years for the Neurotechnology Innovations Translator would spawn an estimated 160 jobs, many of them high-tech, according to a state presentation.
Ohio State officials hope that the research, once brought to market, will improve the quality of life for people affected by Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, autism and other neurological disorders.
An Ohio State University spokeswoman said that about $120 million in outside capital has been committed to the project, bringing the total to about $140 million.
The translator’s headquarters will be in Columbus at a location yet to be determined.
According to the state’s presentation, Ohio State will commit $20 million to the project, with at least $8.47 million more from Medtronic and $2.15 million from Cardinal Health.
The investment in Ohio by Minneapolis-based Medtronic, the world’s largest medical-technology company, and venture capitalists from both the East and West coasts is significant, said Dr. Ali Rezai, director of Ohio State’s neuroscience program.
Ohio is moving toward becoming a neuroscience hub, much as Minnesota is known for cardiac devices and Indiana for orthopedic technology, Rezai said.
Other partners in the project include Battelle, MetroHealth, the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Wright State University, North American Science Associates Inc. (NAMSA) of Northwood, Summa Health System and Advratech LLC of New Carlisle, in Clark County.
The project has risks described as “manageable and acceptable” in the state’s presentation. Among them: Spin-out companies are “potential flight risks,” the project’s sustainability is not guaranteed, and the governance structure, as proposed, was “imbalanced.” That led to a recommendation that the board add members who are not affiliated with the Neurotechnology Innovations Translator, Ohio State, Medtronic or Cardinal Health.
Rezai said that will happen.
Kevin Wasserstein, a venture capitalist and managing director of the Neurotechnology Innovations Translator, said the proposal predicts that eventually there will be more than 200 high-tech jobs directly related to the NIT, including jobs in engineering and research and development, clinical positions, and other health-care based positions.
The Third Frontier economic-development initiative provides funding to Ohio’s technology-based companies, universities, nonprofit research institutions and other organizations to create new products, companies, industries and jobs.
The Ohio Third Frontier Commission also awarded $25 million in support of the Harrington Discovery Institute, to be led by University Hospitals in Cleveland. The two awards are the first made from the state’s new Technology Commercialization Center Program.
©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)