Global Center for Health Innovation Lands Two Startups as Tenants

This article originally appeared in Crain’s Cleveland, Aug. 7, 2019

There are two new tenants at the Global Center for Health Innovation, both of which use technology developed at the Cleveland Clinic and both led by serial health care entrepreneur Vince Owens.

The Global Center announced in a news release on Wednesday, Aug. 7, that the tenants — digital health startup Qr8 Health and medical device company Enspire DBS Therapy — will share a suite and have an initial staff of eight. Qr8 Health is coming to the Global Center from Boston. Both companies are run by Owens, a 25-year veteran of the medical device industry.

The companies occupy a total of a little more than 1,900 square feet, according to a spokeswoman for BioEnterprise, which oversees the Global Center’s strategic direction

Aram Nerpouni, president and CEO of BioEnterprise, said the new tenants are “a reflection of the growing vibrancy of our region and a big win for Cleveland for a growing startup like Qr8 to return home from Boston.”

The release stated that Qr8 Health “uses mobile technology to assess the major motor, visual and cognitive symptoms for patients with multiple sclerosis.” The company is based on the work of Dr. Jay Alberts and his colleagues in the Neural Control Laboratory at the Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute. Qr8’s assessments “are self-administered by the patient, and collect data over time that can be used by clinicians to guide a treatment approach,” the release stated. “It also allows for aggregation of data that can help physicians study treatment effectiveness in large patient populations.”

In addition to treating patients with MS, Qr8 “is pursuing ways to use the technology in the detection and treatment of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke and heart failure,” according to the release.

Enspire DBS Therapy is based on the work of Dr. Andre Machado, chairman of the Neurological Institute at the Clinic. It used deep brain stimulation (DBS) in combination with rehabilitation therapy for post-stroke recovery “to improve or restore patients’ arm function after a stroke,” according to the release. The company has financial backing from Boston Scientific as well as the Clinic. Pre-clinical testing “has demonstrated a 30% to 50% improvement in motor function for stroke survivors,” according to the release, and the company is recruiting post-stroke patients for clinical trials, which are taking place at the Clinic.

Owens’ past startups include Intelect Medical, a DBS technology company spun out of the Clinic in 2005 and acquired by Boston Scientific in 2011. Owens also is a founder and managing general partner of the medical device accelerator and seed funder Guide Medical Ventures.

Qr8 Health and Enspire DBS Therapy join other recent Global Center additions including TPA StreamCavoGene LifeSciences, Public Insight and the North Coast Angel Fund.

The center’s lead tenant, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), is leaving the building. It expects to wind down its operations there within six to 12 months.