Construction is expected to start by early May on a new downtown headquarters for the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, the partnership's leader announced on Thursday.
BioInnovation President and Chief Executive Frank Douglas shared updates about the collaborative venture with about 350 area business, health-care and and political leaders during an annual community update breakfast at the John S. Knight Center in Akron.
Founded in 2008, the BioInnovation Institute brings together the University of Akron, the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, Akron's three hospital systems, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and local government to promote medical-related education, research and economic development.
''It's about collaboration,'' Douglas said in an interview after the event. ''It's really a community effort with those institutions and the community.''
Interior demolition work to prepare the building at 47 N. Main St. for construction of the institute's headquarters took place last month, Douglas said. The entire project is expected to be completed by early next year.
Dennis Foldenauer from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Agency spoke at the meeting about the need to create jobs in the biomedical field and the federal government's interest in the collaboration that is happening in Akron.
During his talk, Douglas spoke about ongoing initiatives, including plans with city leaders to develop an incubator that will cater to startup biomedical companies. The BioInnovation Institute is preparing a proposal to submit to the Department of Commerce to help fund the project, he said.
The institute also is continuing work to lead a national effort to develop quality medical devices that can be made more cost-effectively, he said.
In addition, Douglas spoke about the institute's efforts to start a program called an ''accountable care community,'' a communitywide effort to improve promotion, access and delivery of health care to residents.
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