Telling Cleveland's Biomedical Story

Telling Cleveland's Biomedical StoryBioEnterprise

Cleveland is a leading location for biomedical innovation and a hotbed of global health advancements. Known as “The Medical Capital,” the city is home to a vibrant $5.6 billion biomedical industry with more than 700 companies and world-renowned clinical, research and education institutions, including Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals.

In the past five years alone, more than 390 start-up companies in The Medical Capital have attracted more than $2 billion. Charu Ramanathan, Ph.D. and Ping Jia, Ph.D. are two of Cleveland’s successful biomedical entrepreneurs. Their company, CardioInsight, was recently acquired by Medtronic for $93 million and is now expanding in The Medical Capital.

Ramanathan and Jia founded CardioInsight in 2006 when they were biomedical engineering graduate researchers at Case Western Reserve University. The pair developed a unique, non-invasive way to map electrical disorders of the heart, deciding to turn it into a product when they realized it could help physicians diagnose cardiovascular problems earlier than standard methods.

“Essentially, it started as a technology that was a bunch of lines of code. From a mathematical algorithm we produced output and imagery that would be suitable for interpretation by a physician,” Ramanathan said.

CardioInsight’s ECVUE system is the first of its kind, a non-invasive way to see how the heart is functioning electrically. “It can pinpoint when you have rhythm issues with the heart, and the cause of it so the physician can plan therapy around it,” Ramanathan said.

Based on their system’s innovations and advantages, Ramanathan and Jiu were able to attract a partnership with one of the world’s top physicians and thought leaders in the field, Dr. Michel Haissaguerre, at Hôpital Cardiologique du Haut–Lévèque in Bordeaux, France.

“He was able to persuade his colleagues throughout the world that this type of non-invasive diagnostic technology is really the future of the field,” Jia said. That collaboration led to other collaborations and validation to attract additional investment dollars and top team talent, and bring the company to the point where they became part of Medtronic.

“With the help of Medtronic, we want to take the non-invasive feature of ECVUE and really broaden it and address problems with value-based solutions across patient-care,” Ramanathan said. “We don’t need to be in a sterile lab, we can provide this information anywhere you want. Ultimately, that is our vision.”