$565M Cleveland Innovation District Aims to Bolster Health Care, IT Fields

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday the creation of the Cleveland Innovation District, a $565 million effort to bring together northeastern Ohio’s health-care providers and education institutions to create a pathogen research center.

The goal of the district is to generate more than 20,000 jobs – 10,000 in health-care and IT sectors and another 10,000 in indirect jobs – over the next decade and “improve the lives of millions of people” around the world, he said in a statement. 

For the project, the state, JobsOhio and the Cleveland Clinic will commit a combined $565 million, with much of the money going toward the clinic’s new Global Center for Pathogen Research & Human Health. Through the Development Services Agency, the state of Ohio will commit $155 million, while JobsOhio will provide $110 million in private funding and $300 million will come from the Cleveland Clinic.

“Each of the Cleveland Innovation District partners bring unique skills and areas of expertise. Having these institutions partner together will help Ohio emerge as a leader in health care and IT nationally and globally,” DeWine said.

Among the partners are University Hospitals, MetroHealth System, Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University.

“We’ve all known for a long time that if you could bring these great institutions together we could build a word-class health innovation destination for Cleveland and Ohio, and that’s exactly what we are doing today,” said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. “This is an important part of making Ohio the most innovative, entrepreneurial state in the Midwest, a goal the InnovateOhio team is pursuing every day.”

As the Cleveland Innovation District develops, officials expect more investments to be made. 

“This historic investment will position Cleveland Clinic’s Global Center for Pathogen Research & Human Health to alter the course of human welfare,” said Dr. Tom Mihaljevic, president and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic. “The world has experienced the destruction triggered by pathogens, we will be part of the solution. Together, our four world-class partners will build the Cleveland Innovation District into a vibrant forward-thinking partnership that creates jobs, transforms research and educates the workforce of the future.”  

Case Western Reserve will expand its Next Generation initiative, building on the university’s biomedical technologies and drug development efforts to advance treatments for cancer, cardiac, neurological and infectious diseases.

“To see such strong collaboration among our five institutions bodes well for the future,” said Scott Cowen, interim president of Case Western. “We are grateful to the State of Ohio and JobsOhio for this investment, and look forward to working with our partners to create jobs and businesses that not only contribute to Cleveland’s economy, but also enhance the health and well-being of our region.”  

MetroHealth will provide its expertise in population health, medical informatics, epidemiology and modeling to support the detection and monitoring of diseases spreading within communities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically shown why we need a robust public health ecosystem, one that can respond quickly to new threats through research, innovative treatment and effective, community-informed delivery of care and that is sustained by a world-class workforce,” said MetroHealth CEO and President Dr. Akram Boutros. “The blueprint we’re unveiling today – and the collaboration between the state and the five major local institutions that produced it – builds on Cleveland’s existing strengths and sets us up to be the global leader in health innovation and education.”

University Hospitals will leverage its current research projects and partnership to identify and attract new technology innovation for pharmaceutical development,

“As an anchor institution focused on community benefit, we hold in the highest regard our responsibility for taking a leadership role in ensuring the economic vitality and prosperity of the Northeast Ohio region,” said President Dr. Cliff A. Megerian. “And as a health system whose mission is ‘To Heal. To Teach. To Discover,’ it’s incumbent upon us to ensure we invest in medical research and innovation as well as the necessary talent to fuel discovery.”

And Cleveland State will invest in education and talent development to provide more degrees, adult learning opportunities and virtual education options in STEM fields. Through the partnership, the university will recruit and train the workforce needed for fields supported by the Cleveland Innovation District.

“As the largest producer in the state of 4-year college graduates that live and work in northeastern Ohio, we are extremely excited about this investment that will enable us to do even more,” said Cleveland State University President Harlan Sands. 

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.