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Ohio's World-Renowned Hospitals Spin Off Groundbreaking Biohealth Companies

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

New companies reflect the high level of innovation and collaboration in Ohio

If you have ever heard me talk about Ohio's health care industry, you know I'm passionate about it. As senior managing director of biohealth for JobsOhio, I'm probably one of the sector's biggest cheerleaders. That's because I know all the amazing things taking place in Ohio's hospitals, universities, research centers and private companies, and I want everyone else to know, too.

One of the most exciting developments in the past few years has been the growing number of innovative spinoffs from our nationally ranked health systems. These new health care companies are a testament not only to the leading-edge research taking place in Ohio, but also to the collaborative environment that's so critical for innovation. Hospitals work with colleges, research facilities and pioneering leaders to come up with new discoveries and to support their commercialization.

Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, for example, has launched several spinoff companies focused on developing gene and cell therapies to treat rare, life-threatening genetic diseases. One example is AveXis, which was recently acquired by Novartis for $8.7 billion. AveXis is developing gene therapies targeted at patients with spinal muscular atrophy, known as SMA, and a genetic form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS. Another example is Abeona Therapeutics. Abeona is working on products to treat Sanfilippo syndrome and Batten disease, both progressive and fatal diseases, as well as epidermolysis bullosa, a disease that causes fragile, blistering skin. About 30 million people in the U.S. live with a rare disease. Half of them are children, and many won't live until their fifth birthday. But these companies are working to change those numbers.

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