Hospitals

Cleveland Clinic readies Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center for heart, vascular tenants

The Cleveland Clinic is looking for tenants to occupy the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center it’s building on the southern edge of its main campus. The $19 million project at East 101st Street and Cedar Road will host wet laboratories and offices, conference rooms and informal meeting areas, artwork and sophisticated teleconferencing and audio-visual technologies when it opens, likely in May.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cleveland Clinic is looking for tenants to occupy the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center it’s building on the southern edge of its main campus.

The $19 million project at East 101st Street and Cedar Road will host wet laboratories and offices, conference rooms and informal meeting areas, artwork and sophisticated teleconferencing and audio-visual technologies when it opens, likely in May.

Between 20 and 25 tenant companies will develop, test or commercialize heart or vascular products across the street from the Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute and within a five-minute walk of the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Pavilion, the new heart hospital that houses the Clinic’s heart and vascular institute.

“This is state-of-the-art space adjacent to the No. 1 clinical facility in North America for cardiovascular care,” Chris Coburn, executive director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations. “This is as good as it gets in terms of providing a home for companies that are working to develop new technologies.”

The center is a consortium of research and medical institutions, economic development organizations and companies headed by the Cleveland Clinic. It’s aiming to help launch medical devices, drugs, therapies, equipment and other cardiovascular products that can treat patients’ hearts. In late 2006, the Ohio Third Frontier program granted the center $60 million.

About one-third of the state grant money has been used to build the GCIC — what most people call the center — said Mark Low, its managing director.

The center will grant the remaining Third Frontier money to companies that are commercializing heart-related products. Prior to its October funding cycle, the GCIC had awarded $12 million to 35 companies, Low said. Those companies have attracted an additional $140 million in grants and investments.

So far, five companies have signed up as tenants of the GCIC. All of the prospective tenants have received  development or commercialization grants from the center, however, that’s not a prerequisite for being a tenant.

These days, though, the 50,000-square-f00t, three-floor building hosts workers who hang drywall, finish installing plumbing and ducting pipes, and replace plywood placeholders with windows. Sheets of woven plastic substitute for glass walls at the building’s northwest corner. Mounds of mud inside the gated parking lot behind the building foretell gardens and green spaces where tenants could congregate.

The center will accommodate up to 20 labs and 34 offices, in addition to shared spaces, such as conference and meeting rooms, a room that offers information technology services and one that offers laboratory services, said Susan Bernat, operations and finance director for Cleveland Clinic Innovations.

Coburn grins as he walks through the building. He and his staff of 35 commercialization professionals will move into much of the first floor of the building, probably in April. The new building designed to encourage tenant collaboration and innovation will be a change from the cramped, re-renovated building the staff now calls home. It also will be a rarity. Most company incubator buildings are in their second or third lives.

Initially, the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp. was supposed to own the GCIC and lease it to the Clinic and its tenants. But recent troubles in real estate and financial markets dictated that the Clinic own the building, Coburn said.

“The GCIC is a partnership with the Fairfax development corporation extending the Clinic’s capabilities into the cardiovascular commercial realm,” he said.”This facility is almost open for business and we want to start filling it up.”

The center is at the heart of the development corporation’s strategic plan to build light industrial, retail and residential space on the south side of Cedar Road, said Anthony Whitfield, economic development director for the non-profit group.

Some Clinic researchers might eventually want to live in townhouses the development corporation has proposed building there, Coburn said.

Proximity to the Clinic’s researchers and engineers, as well as to those at nearby Case Western Reserve University, also could minimize the time it takes to develop and test prototypes of medical devices or do clinical trials of drugs, said Low, a veteran of medical technology commercialization.