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Centerpiece Of Cleveland's New Innovation District Will Be Virus Research

Cleveland Clinic will invest $300 million in building a Global Center for Pathogen Research and Human Health at its main campus as part of the Cleveland Innovation District announced Monday. [Cleveland Clinic]
photo of cleveland clinic

Cleveland will be the home to Ohio’s second “innovation district,” a health-care focused, $565 million job-creation partnership with the city's three major hospitals and Case Western Reserve and Cleveland State universities.

Gov. Mike DeWine said the state expects the Cleveland Innovation District to spark 10,000 new direct jobs, through research and new businesses created or moving to the region along with 10,000 indirect new jobs and about $3 billion in economic impact as a result of the investment.

“This partnership and investment is a lon-term goal of turning Cleveland into literally the hub for health care innovation and opportunity in the world,” DeWine said at a Monday press conference announcing the innovation district. “The expected output over 10 years will create $3 billion in economic impact in Cleveland and quite candidly, I think it will really be even more than that.”

A new research center at Cleveland Clinic’s main campus called the Global Center for Pathogen Research and Human Health, meant to study and protect against viruses, is the centerpiece of the plan. It will be located on the Cleveland Clinic's main campus, near the Lerner Research Institute.

State officials estimate $265 million in state money will go toward building the new center and job creation tax credits for the five institutions – the Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University – partnering in the innovation district.

“This investment in innovation will impact the advancement of health care across four continents,” JobsOhio President J.P. Nauseef said. “Together, each of five partners will play a unique role that will enhance talent development, minority health care, personalized medicine and more”

Cleveland Clinic CEO Tom Mihaljevic said the hospital, which is celebrating its centennial in 2021, will invest $300 million in the new center, but there is no timeline for the building’s construction.

“For Cleveland Clinic, the expansion of Cleveland Clinic’s Global Center for Pathogen Research and Human Health is the largest research initiative in our organization’s history and will become among the most significant privately funded centers of its kind in the world,” Mihaljevic said.

Each of the three hospitals will participate in pathogen research and treatment development. MetroHealth is creating a Community Responsive Care Institute to track diseases at the community level, using $30 million in state funding.

The two universities also will conduct research, help launch any businesses coming out of that research and train new employees, with CSU pledging to double its number of graduates with degrees in related fields during the next ten years. CWRU plans to focus on using data to predict disease outbreaks.

“My time in Cleveland dates back more than four decades,” CWRU Interim President Scott Cowen said. “And I can tell you until now these five institutions have not come together in such a substantive and meaningful way.”

The Cleveland Innovation District is the second partnership between higher education and health care meant to produce business startups launched in Ohio. A Cincinnati Innovation District was launched last March. State officials expect that investment to create 20,000 direct and indirect jobs and $3 billion in economic output. DeWine said he hopes to create more districts around the state.

ideastream's Glenn Forbes contributed to this report.

Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer focused on criminal justice issues at Ideastream Public Media.