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Ohio Third Frontier Awards $21 Million To Create 'Neurotechnology Hub'

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Posted: 6/11/2014

<p>Dr. Ali Rezai</p>

Dr. Ali Rezai

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Third Frontier Commission has approved $21 million in Technology Commercialization Center funds to form the Neurotechnology Innovations Translator (NIT) in collaboration with The Ohio State University to help create neurotechnology companies and high-tech jobs in Ohio.

This four-year funding from the Third Frontier in conjunction with collaborator and partner investments brings the total commitment for the NIT to more than $140 million.   

“This is a clear example of the power of partnerships to improve people’s lives. I am grateful for the significant investment from the State of Ohio, as well as from our corporate and funding partners,” said Ohio State Interim President Joseph A. Alutto. “Together, we will leverage new knowledge and research to accelerate discoveries for neurological conditions that affect so many families.”

Dr. Ali Rezai, director of Ohio State’s Neuroscience Program and an international leader in developing neuromodulation technologies, is the principal investigator and Kevin Wasserstein, a seasoned operational business executive and venture capitalist, is the managing director of NIT, which will provide a comprehensive concept-to-clinic infrastructure and efficient pathway to validate technologies, optimize their probability for success and accelerate their commercialization for use in patients.

“Our goal is to establish the State of Ohio as a global leader in neuroscience technology development and creation of high-tech jobs and companies. These discoveries and innovations will help improve the lives of patients in Ohio and across the world,” said Rezai, who also is director of Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center’s Center for Neuromodulation. “We’ll leverage the world-class expertise across Ohio State and our Ohio and national partners and collaborators to create a pipeline of innovative and compelling solutions for those with neurological disorders.”

Ohio State’s extensive resources, including OSU’s Office of Research, College of Medicine, College of Engineering, Fisher College of Business and College of Veterinary Medicine, will contribute to innovation, validation and development of technology.

Neurotechnologies address and treat neurological disorders including epilepsy; Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias; cerebrovascular diseases, including stroke, migraine and other headache disorders; autism; psychiatric disorders; chronic pain; multiple sclerosis; Parkinson's disease; brain tumors; and traumatic brain injury.

“Innovative therapies are desperately needed because the incidence of neurological disorders is predicted to increase with the aging population,” Rezai said. “These conditions affect more than one billion people worldwide and cost more than $2 trillion to treat each year.”

The global market for neurotechnology surpassed $5.8 billion in 2012, with estimates projecting the market to experience accelerated growth to $11.4 billion by 2016.

“The NIT will identify and move technologies rapidly from concept to clinic, supporting new company formation to bring neurotechnologies to the marketplace,” Wasserstein said.  “Our team has secured a broad set of collaborators across Ohio and the United States who’ll provide extensive development and technology resources as well as capital.”

“Advances in neuroscience are rapidly changing the practice of medicine, yet we have only just scratched the surface as we continue to unlock the mysteries of the brain and nervous system, providing virtually limitless opportunities for discoveries and innovation to help adult and pediatric patients,” Rezai said.

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Contact: Eileen Scahill, Wexner Medical Center Public Affairs and Media Relations, 614-293-3737, or Eileen.Scahill@osumc.edu

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