Last month’s announcement that three more Israeli companies are moving to Ohio is the latest example of how Greater Cleveland is getting more international and using Israel as its focal point. There have been flirtations with Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Ireland. But Israel has become a regular stop for many of the city’s biotech and health-care organizations, and the companies moving here are evidence of the growing relationship.
The next best opportunity for Cleveland to grab an Israeli company is probably EarlySense, which has created a monitoring system for hospitals and home health care settings. The company announced Monday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its product, EverOn. Chief Executive Avner Halperin said EarlySense would start selling in the American market and open a U.S. office next year. (The company lists an office in Boston, but Halperin said it’s simply a point-of-contact location.)
Why Cleveland? EarlySense’s lone American investor is Cleveland’s Bridge Investment Fund, which seeks out businesses that “have synergies with the leading health care industries and institutions in Northeast Ohio.”
Plus, virtually everything that needs to be done to lure EarlySense could be done here. Halperin said the location of its U.S. office would depend on the source of additional funding, new strategic partnerships and proximity to new customers. He said the company would likely raise more private capital in the next six-to-12 months, and already has talked with Cleveland-area health systems.
Michael Goldberg, Bridge’s managing partner, didn’t want to discuss the chances of moving the company here. He pointed out that Bridge is a minority partner in the company. A few Israeli venture capitalists and a Dutch firm, Noaber, also have invested in EarlySense.
EarlySense fits the early stage profile of Cleveland’s medical industry and — barring some rabid competition to lure them — could likely be attracted here without much (if any) kind of public investment.
Keep in mind the company still has much to prove. The key piece of its device looks like a flat, electronic heating pad. It’s placed under a mattress to monitor heart rate, respiration and body movements, which the company says can provide better data on patients and lead to faster, more effective treatment than not monitoring patients, or monitoring them through traditional means. EarlySense is conducting clinical studies and working to get completed studies published, Halperin said.
The company’s device was designed for the home health-care market. For the last two years, EarlySense has revised EverOn for hospitals and the 1 million unmonitored beds the company sees in this market in the United States.
Along with itsU.S. approval, EarlyOn has been approved for sale in the European Union and will start selling there in a few months.