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Cleveland Clinic names two new leaders for commercialization divisions

By JULIE WASHINGTON • Updated May 2, 2017 at 2:07 PM

CLEVELAND (TNS) — The Cleveland Clinic recently appointed new leaders to its divisions that commercialize medical innovations while creating jobs and attracting talent to Cleveland.

Peter O'Neill is now executive director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations, which takes ideas from caregivers on how to improve patient care, and turns them into patents and licenses. Cleveland Clinic Innovations has issued more than 850 patents and executed more than 500 licenses on medical devices and techniques, said Cleveland Clinic chief of staff Dr. Brian Donley.

Jack Miner was named managing director of Cleveland Clinic Ventures, which creates and spins off healthcare companies. Cleveland Clinic Ventures has created nearly 80 spinoff companies that generated more than 200 jobs and raised more than $1 billion from investors.

Both Cleveland Clinic Innovations and Cleveland Clinic Ventures were founded in 2000. Donley will oversee Cleveland Clinic Innovations, while the Clinic's chief financial officer, Steven Glass, oversees Cleveland Clinic Ventures.

Often patient caregivers think of novel ways improve patient care. Cleveland Clinic Innovations helps those ideas reach the marketplace by licensing intellectual property to existing companies; the Clinic profits through royalties from the license, O'Neill explained.

The Clinic's Communicate with H.E.A.R.T. interactive training program, which focuses on how hospitals can improve patient experience, began as a Cleveland Clinic Innovations project. In June 2016, Cleveland Clinic Innovations licensed its H.E.A.R.T. program -- which stands for Hear, Empathize, Apologize, Respond, Thank the person -- to a national company, O'Neill said.

“Innovation happens by the people who do the work,” Donley said. “We’re improving patient lives by doing this.”

Cleveland Clinic Ventures strives to make Cleveland a place where money and talent come together to create healthcare startups, Miner said.

One of Cleveland Clinic Venture's biggest success stories is Explorys, a healthcare data company that spun off from the Cleveland Clinic in 2009 and was acquired by IBM in 2015.

Explorys plans to move its 200 employees from the old Cleveland Playhouse building to a new building that will start construction in Cleveland this year, Glass said. IBM will lease the facility from a developer.

Not all of the Clinic’s spin-off companies stay in Cleveland, but the goal is to retain jobs and talent here, Miner said. He pointed to the example of the Cleveland HeartLab Inc., a Clinic spin-off company that specializes in cardiovascular disease diagnosis and management. It created more than 200 local jobs and recruited its CEO to move here from Wisconsin.

In the future, Cleveland Clinic Innovations needs employees with business savvy and have entrepreneurial energy, O'Neill said. Miner sees Cleveland Clinic Ventures as an engine that will make Cleveland a future destination for healthcare startups.

Cleveland's growing med-tech field attracted both Miner and O'Neill to the area. O'Neill, who grew up in central Pennsylvania, joined the Cleveland Clinic 12 years ago and moved here from Leeds, England.

Previously, O'Neill served as director of commercialization with Cleveland Clinic Innovations and chief executive for one of its spin-off companies, Custom Orthopaedic Solutions.

Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic Ventures, Miner served as director of the Venture Center at the University of Michigan, where he helped launch startup companies. Miner, who grew up in Detroit, moved here from Michigan less than a year ago; he and his wife are enjoying downtown living.

“My wife and I fell in love with this town,” Miner said.

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