Innovations Team

Our robust team of market analysts, subject matter experts and former medical industry leaders is deployed via our INVENT® process to ensure the most promising inventions are positioned to succeed in the ever-changing healthcare marketplace. Expertise from across Cleveland Clinic and our external network is solicited to offer strategic advice for select inventions. If a technology is deemed to merit a new venture, an independent team of investment and operational professionals will facilitate spin-off company formation, fundraising and governance.
Akhil Saklecha, MD
Akhil Saklecha, MD

Akhil Saklecha, MD

Managing Director, New Companies


Dr. Saklecha is the Managing Director of Cleveland Clinic Ventures where he leads investments into startup companies for one of the world’s top healthcare systems. He currently sits on the boards of Cardionomic, Cell-X Technologies, Centerline Biomedical, Cleveland Diagnostics, Method AI, Neurotherapia, XII Medical, and Zehna Therapeutics.

Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic Ventures, Akhil was a Partner at Artiman Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm with over $1.2 billion under management. While at Artiman, he led investments in early-stage start-up companies and served on the boards of Cellmax Life, Oncostem Diagnostics, Slive, ApplyBoard, DateMySchool, and HomeUnion. In addition to his Board of Director roles, he also served as CEO of Slive, an early stage diagnostics company. Prior to joining Artiman, Akhil served in administrative roles at Aultman Hospital in Ohio as Medical Director of the hospital’s regional transfer program and Chairman of the Emergency Department and Level II Trauma Center. He was also CEO of Canton Aultman Emergency Physicians, a professional services firm that provides physicians, mid-level providers, and coding expertise to multiple hospitals and urgent care centers. In this same time period, Akhil participated at the local, state, and national levels of governing institutions within emergency medicine, healthcare quality, information technology, managed care, and emergency medical services.

Akhil is Board-certified in Emergency Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians. He continues to practice emergency medicine at Cleveland Clinic on a part-time basis where he remains connected to clinical care, patients, and physicians. Akhil graduated from the combined accelerated B.S./M.D. program at Northeast Ohio Medical University. He completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at Summa Health System and holds a M.B.A. from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.


 

Contact Information:

216-444-5757

D. Geoffrey Vince, PhD
D. Geoffrey Vince, PhD

D. Geoffrey Vince, PhD

Executive Director


D. Geoffrey Vince, PhD, is Executive Director of Innovations at Cleveland Clinic. He also holds The Virginia Lois Kennedy Chair in Biomedical Engineering and Applied Therapeutics and chairs the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

In his role as Executive Director of Innovations, Dr. Vince is aligning Cleveland Clinic’s technology development strategies with scientific and research priorities—including unprecedented growth in data and computing sciences—to accelerate the development of new treatments and drugs. He is also capitalizing on Cleveland Clinic’s innovative culture to build strategic partnerships and alliances with industry to drive revenue growth through commercialization of intellectual property, which will help fuel medical advances and economic growth in Northeast Ohio.

Dr. Vince obtained his PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Liverpool in 1989. He came to Cleveland Clinic BME as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in 1992, rising to Associate Staff by 2003.

In BME, Dr. Vince and colleagues invented a new methodology for imaging the interior of coronary arteries using intravascular ultrasound. This methodology, “Virtual Histology™,” was patented and later licensed to Volcano Therapeutics (now Volcano Corp.).

In 2005, Dr. Vince left Cleveland Clinic to join Volcano’s Cleveland office as Director of Research. In 2006, he became Vice-President of Clinical and Advanced R&D, moving to Volcano’s headquarters in San Diego, California. His invention is now a product of some 7,000 units worldwide. (Volcano was purchased by Philips in 2015.) Dr. Vince returned to Cleveland in 2011 to become Chair of Cleveland Clinic BME.

Dr. Vince is currently Principal Investigator of the Cleveland Clinic site for a grant awarded under the NIH Centers for Accelerated Innovations (NCAI) program, an initiative of the NHLBI/NIH. He is an inventor on more than 60 patents or patent applications in the United States and worldwide. More recently, Dr. Vince has been working with colleagues at Cleveland Clinic to develop a breathalyzer for simple, non-invasive, early detection of COVID-19.


Contact Information:



Joseph Rich, JD
Joseph Rich, JD

Joseph Rich, JD

Sr. Director, Governance, Grants & Policies


Joseph T. Rich, JD, MBA is responsible for new venture development and growth, and manages the relationships between the boards and executive teams of CCI and OBVF portfolio companies. He also is the Portfolio Manager of the Ohio Third Frontier sponsored, $30 million+ Ohio BioValidation Funds early stage investment program. He has extensive business development expertise through his involvement in the organization and start-up of numerous financially successful companies. Mr. Rich possesses industry-specific expertise in life sciences, venture capital investments and angel financing, joint ventures and other strategic alliances involving technology commercialization. He has led many OBVF deal teams that resulted in successful OBVF investments. Mr. Rich serves as a Board Member and or Corporate Officer for over 15 early-stage companies, and led the successful exit of portfolio company FlexLife to LifeWatch Services, Inc. He has a decade of technology commercialization experience, previously serving as a senior member of Cleveland Clinic’s New Venture group. Prior to Cleveland Clinic, he served as vice president and general counsel for The University of Akron Research Foundation, where he was instrumental in numerous corporate ventures and international deals. He is actively involved in higher education in the State of Ohio, and has served on the Board of Trustees of The University of Akron after an appointment by the Ohio governor. Mr. Rich received a BS in Biology from John Carroll University, an MBA in Finance from The University of Akron and a JD from The University of Akron.


Contact Information:

216-445-1594

Mary Kander
Mary Kander

Mary Kander

General Manager, Technology Commercialization

Mary Kander is the General Manager of Technology and Commercialization for Cleveland Clinic Innovations. In this capacity, Mary oversees all activities relating to the management, assessment, development and commercialization of Cleveland Clinic inventions.  Mary has over 20 years of experience in medical product development and commercialization, including over 17 years commercializing technologies created at Cleveland Clinic.   Previously, Mary held a number of management positions, at Invacare Corporation, a manufacturer of medical devices for the home care market and at Procter & Gamble Co.  Mary has a B.A. from John Carroll University and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  

Contact Information:

216-445-3288

Michael Austriaco
Michael Austriaco

Michael Austriaco

Director, Business Analytics


Since 2010, Michael has led market intelligence efforts within Innovations. Under his direction, the Business Analytics team is dedicated to qualifying and quantifying the commercial potential of new medical technologies. This is accomplished through comprehensive, data driven assessments spanning patentability, marketability, financial modeling and related diligence activities designed to optimize portfolio management and mitigate investment risk. Efficiency, resourcefulness and deep domain expertise are the key value drivers the Business Analytics team brings to Innovations and its strategic partners. Prior to joining the Clinic, Michael spent more than 11 years at Health Research International, an independent medical market research and consulting firm, most recently as Vice President. During this time, he authored numerous syndicated industry reports and worked closely with a broad range of medical technology firms from local start-ups to multinationals on custom primary and secondary research projects. Michael earned a BA in business administration (cum laude, Marketing major) from the Richard T. Farmer School of Business at Miami University.


Contact Information:

216-445-2475

Sarah Stamp
Sarah Stamp

Sarah Stamp

General Manager, Operations & Administration


Sarah is the General Manager of Operations & Administration and is responsible for all work pertaining to financial, administrative, and human resources activities of Cleveland Clinic Innovations. Sarah has over 20 years in healthcare and is recognized for her expertise in practice management and strategic and business planning. Prior to rejoining CCF, Sarah worked as a Consultant at The Gateway Group, Vice President of Medical Operations at The MetroHealth System, and as an Administrator at CCF.  Her work centered on directing and managing medical group practices, developing and executing strategic initiatives, front end revenue enhancement and improving the performance of existing product lines.

Sarah received her BS in business administration degree from John Carroll University and her MBA from Cleveland State University.


Contact Information:

216-445-8532

Shawn Zimmer
Shawn Zimmer

Shawn Zimmer

Director, Finance

Shawn Zimmer, CPA has over fourteen years of experience in accounting, financial reporting, management and internal controls. Shawn joined Cleveland Clinic Innovations in August 2016 as Director of Finance. Prior to joining Innovations, he was the Chief Financial Officer of a privately owned company, responsible for developing and growing an accounting department, monthly reporting, cash flow management and Enterprise Resource Planning system integration. He also spent a significant portion of his career in public accounting at Deloitte & Touche LLP. Shawn provided audit, accounting and business advisory services to a wide range of clients, including publicly traded, privately held, and early-stage companies with revenues ranging from $10 million to +$1 billion.
 
Shawn earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Accounting and Master of Accountancy from Bowling Green State University. Shawn is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Ohio Society of CPAs.

Contact Information:

216-218-5828

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