Ohio awards $10M to boost opioid, addiction breakthroughs

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio awarded $10 million in grants Thursday to six companies and a university that have come up with innovative scientific ideas to address the national opioid epidemic.

The Ohio Third Frontier Commission awarded the grants for ideas that include development of pain management alternatives and a mobile app to improve addiction treatment.

The seven grant winners emerged from a field of 44 initial projects submitted by hospitals, universities and various medical device, software and pharmaceutical developers. About $2 million less was awarded than the commission had made available.

The state is energized as its efforts progress, and commission Chairman David Goodman

"We put out the call for promising technology that could help combat the national opioid problem," he said. "We're excited about how these innovations might be part of the solution."

The grant competition is part of a two-pronged strategy the state is using to drive innovative research and development in opioid and addiction science.

The second element is an $8 million Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge, a competition modeled after the Head Health competition launched by the NFL, Under Armour and GE to address traumatic brain injuries. State officials were generating ideas for the contest Thursday with a Tech2025 hackathon event in New York.

The efforts come in a state among the hardest hit by the deadly opioid epidemic. There were 4,050 overdose deaths in Ohio last year, many linked to heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

The grant recipients are:

— Cordata Healthcare Innovations, Cincinnati, $1.5 million, for data and predictive analytics to better identify high-risk locations for abuse and overdose locations and to improve intervention.

— DeUmbra, Inc., Austin, Texas, $861,000, for a web application that uses artificial intelligence to identify patterns in patient data.

— Elysium Therapeutics, Inc., Danville, California, $2.98 million, to commercialize a compound inhibiting opioid absorption during overdose.

— Innovative Medical Equipment, Lyndhurst, Ohio, $177,000, for device that uses heat and cold instead of opioids for chronic and post-operative pain.

— Sober First LLC, dba Ascent, Cleveland, $464,000, for web-based, 24-hour recovery hotline.

— Sollis Therapeutics, Columbus, $2 million, to commercialize implantable non-opioid, non-steroid drug device combination for treatment of sciatic nerve pain.

— University of Akron, Akron, $2 million, to commercialize degradable mesh that releases a local anesthetic in place of oral opioids for managing post-operative pain

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Online: https://development.ohio.gov/bs_thirdfrontier/

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This story has been corrected to show the number of grant winners is seven, not 15.

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