An innovative culture that runs deep within the organization is a feature of which Cleveland Clinic is exceedingly proud. Guided by our enterprise mission to continue to improve the care our patients receive, innovation is happening at every clinical and administrative level. From this innovation comes ground-breaking research, inventorship, and marketable technology with the power to revolutionize healthcare. Since our founding in 1921, our caregivers have displayed innovation in their care and their work and in 2000, the enterprise bolstered its devotion to the ideal with the establishment of a dedicated commercialization arm: Cleveland Clinic Innovations and Ventures.

Celebrating Innovation each year allows us to take a deep dive into remarkable caregiver achievements in the areas of health information technology, medical device, life science, and delivery solutions. Each category allows a closer look at domain experts leading the innovative charge in their respective fields. Nominations for each award explore the impact of the nominee’s idea and the efforts made to bring their science off the paper, into a lab, and closer to the hands of patients.

Hear Executive Medical Director, Innovations, Will Morris, MD, speak on the importance of innovation in the enterprise and our pride in this year’s award winners.


Innovation is a journey, from initial disclosure and protection of intellect, to the ultimate licensing and commercialization of an idea. Join us as we congratulate all our caregivers who participated in this journey last year, and celebrate a select few for their outstanding achievements in innovation.

Hear from Serpil Erzurum, MD, Chief Research & Academic Officer, speak of these caregivers’ outstanding research efforts.

This year we celebrate the following innovators for their contributions to medicine and the healthcare ecosystem:
  • Outstanding Innovation in Health Information Technology: Jay Alberts, PhD, for his emphasis on access to care and use of VR technology for realistic observations in Parkinson’s patients.
  • Outstanding Innovation in Medical Device: Vinod Labhasetwar, PhD, for his work pushing the boundaries of nanoparticle technology and its influence in sustained, targeted drug delivery.
  • Outstanding Innovation in Therapeutics & Diagnostics: Dianne Perez, PhD, for her 30-year career with alpha-1 adrenergic receptors and their role in the development of a drug for increased cognitive function in Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Outstanding Innovation in Delivery Solutions: Nate Hurle & Lisa Yerian, MD, for their innovative concept of Tiered Daily Huddles, laying a foundation for cohesive care and elevated insight enterprise-wide.
  • Young Innovator Award: Feixiong Cheng, PhD, for his work applying systems biology technology and network medicine methodologies to predict drug targets and understand mechanisms of disease, coupled with his overall research progress at a young age.
  • 2020 Hickey Innovation Impact Award: Geoff Vince, PhD, and his dynamic team for their rapid development of a ‘Breathalyzer’ test for quicker, less invasive diagnosis of COVID-19.
We are very fortunate and honored to work with our inventors across the organization,” said Will Morris, MD, Executive Director, Cleveland Clinic Innovations. “We reside at the cutting-edge of medical innovation. Celebrations like this remind us of how lucky we are to work at Cleveland Clinic alongside some the most talented and passionate caregivers and inventors in the world.”

We also use this time of year to recognize the innovation that has gone one step further, nearing the bedside of patients worldwide – those ideas that have entered the market as investible, standalone companies. These entities have received strategic investment to address organizational priorities and healthcare whitespace opportunities, and they work daily to do so with the intensity that only a startup could. In 2019, seven new Cleveland Clinic portfolio companies were formed, ten received investment to further their development, and a select group achieved significant milestones.

We’d like to recognize the following for their outstanding development in 2019:
  • Centerline Biomedical for receiving 510(k) Clearance from the FDA for their flagship IOPS product for endovascular interventions in the descending aorta. Last year the company was also awarded an NIH grant and hired their CEO, Phil Rackliffe.
  • Cleveland Diagnostics for receiving FDA Breakthrough Device Designation for their Novel Prostate Cancer Diagnostic Test and publishing a multicenter IsoPSA Clinical Validation Study demonstrating improved accuracy over the gold standard Prostate-Specific Antigen, or PSA, Test.
  • NeuroTherapia for initiating its First-In-Human Clinical Trials of its lead compound, NTRX-07, for Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • VisionAir Solutions for receiving 510(k) Clearance from the FDA of their patient-specific airway stents in October 2019.
Said Managing Director, Cleveland Clinic Ventures, Akhil Saklecha, MD, “this is exciting progress for each of these companies. It has been a pleasure to partner with our inventors, management teams, and fellow investors to support and participate in the companies’ technical and commercial development. We look forward to continued collaboration and their forthcoming success.”

These displays of innovation by our inventors and entrepreneurs inspire and humble us this and every year. The passion and creativity possessed by Cleveland Clinic caregivers is like no other – only growing stronger since our founding nearly 100 years ago. Let it be known that 2020’s celebration is not limited to those featured individuals – though we hope their stories of success might bring you a new or renewed spirit of ingenuity. Rather, we celebrate all innovation in the enterprise, recognizing it is one of the many traits keeping us at the forefront of care. For this reason, we at Cleveland Clinic Innovations and Ventures will continue to encourage and support future inventorship and disclosure and sustain the tradition of celebrating innovation at Cleveland Clinic.

To read full stories and view acceptance speeches from the above individuals, click here. To learn more about Innovation at Cleveland Clinic, our process, and submit a disclosure, click here.


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