Austen BioInnovation Institute to Foster Akron’s Innovation Ecosystem with up to $4 million in New Support from Knight Foundation, $1 million from State of Ohio

AKRON, Ohio (July 9, 2014) – The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA) announced funding commitments of up to $5 million today to bolster the organization’s product innovation and commercialization efforts and advance Northeast Ohio’s culture of biomedical entrepreneurship.
 
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a founding partner of ABIA, renewed its support to the organization with a plan to provide up to $4 million to advance Northeast Ohio’s economic viability and innovation ecosystem. In addition, the State of Ohio has awarded nearly $1 million to expand ABIA’s advanced medical prototyping center and to purchase additional advanced manufacturing equipment. 
 
ABIA recently announced a renewed effort to focus on stimulating product innovation and commercialization, as well as developing highly skilled healthcare workers through advanced simulation training. 
 
“We are very proud of what has been accomplished in Akron. Knight Foundation’s continued support, combined with the State’s recognition of ABIA as a resource, strengthens our talented team’s efforts to accelerate innovation," said Dr. Frank L. Douglas, ABIA President and CEO. “Through its involvement in numerous Northeast Ohio initiatives, Knight Foundation continues to position Greater Akron and Ohio as a leader in the new economy.”
 
During the past several months, ABIA has enhanced its relationships with medical device and advanced materials companies, healthcare systems, higher education institutions and entrepreneurs. The state funding will allow ABIA to expand its product development and commercialization space and add resources for inventors, engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs. Recently, ABIA announced inventive partnerships and projects with other innovation-focused groups like engineering design firm Nottingham-Spirk and specialty manufacturer OMNOVA Solutions
 
“This unique public-private collaboration continues to grow and has created the type of innovative programs that have attracted regional, statewide and national attention," said Akron Children’s Hospital President and Chief Executive Bill Considine, who serves as ABIA’s board chairman. “The support of Knight Foundation combined with that from local public, corporate and philanthropic leaders, including the FirstEnergy Foundation and other groups, demonstrate the tremendous value ABIA brings to our region. By aligning our focus and collaborating, we can help grow Northeast Ohio’s biomedical sector.”
 
“The Austen BioInnovation Institute has made a significant impact on Akron’s economy, creating new jobs and attracting top talent, while building the city’s reputation as a place for new ideas and innovation,” said Juan Martinez, Knight Foundation Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “It’s part of the success of the community, and Knight is committed to its continued growth.” 
 
 
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About Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron
The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA) – an exceptional collaboration of Akron Children’s Hospital, FirstEnergy Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Summa Health System and The University of Akron – brings innovative minds together to create economic and personal vitality by inspiring patient-centered discovery and invention. The ABIA partnership shortens the time from idea to commercialization of new technologies and solutions by bringing together world-class scientists, physicians, engineers, researchers and entrepreneurs in the biomedical product and polymer science industries. ABIA works to secure Ohio’s economic future through its patient-centered product innovation and cutting-edge healthcare workforce training. Find out more at www.abiakron.org
 
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. More at www.knightfoundation.org.