Stephen and I attended a breakfast meeting on Wednesday morning. It started at 8:00 A.M. He was there on time. He is very good at that. I, of course, was late as usual. BT (before toddlers), I was either early or on time. AT (you can figure out what it stands for), I feel like I am in slow motion or reverse motion. Who knows, maybe Brownian motion will be next, but I digress….

The meeting was hosted by Omeris. Omeris, founded in 1986 as Edison BioTechnology Center, is a non-profit organization designed to build and accelerate bioscience industry, research, and education in Ohio. As Ohio’s bioscience membership and development organization, they are focused on networking the bioscience assets of Ohio.

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The purpose of the breakfast meeting was for Omeris , in partnership with Cincinnati USA and BIO/START, to present Phase I data on their Targeted Asset Based Company Attraction Strategy. This Phase I data strongly support Phase II, in which Omeris will develop 2-3 Target Asset Clusters. The presentation was given by 3 of the principals at Omeris, Anthony J. Dennis, Ph.D., president, John F. Lewis Jr., vice-president and Catharina Maulbecker-Armstrong, senior consultant .

As part of the presentation, Omeris highlighted some very interesting statistics for the state of Ohio. Many of these statistics compared Ohio with North Carolina and Michigan and to a much lesser extent the west coast. For instance, I learned that between 1997 and 2001, Ohio filed 2,085 life science patents, while North Carolina filed 1,214 and Michigan filed 1,154 during that same period. On the average, Ohio participates in 200 more clinical trials than North Carolina and in technology education, Ohio ranks 4th and North Carolina 44th.

Also, according to a recent Milken Institute report, Ohio led the nation in bioscience VC growth from 2001-2003. The Cleveland Clinic has been ranked the 4th best hospital in the world and the top cardiac center and Cincinnati Children’s ranks among the top three pediatric medical centers receiving research grants (2004 U.S. News and World Report).

Not to mention that the Inventor’s Hall of Fame is in Akron. Deep down, I knew that it was there. But it is very much overshadowed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. Two museums also dedicated to very noble aspirations to be sure.

Location , location, location. I kept hearing that mantra of real estate agents throughout the Omeris presentation. Ohio does not have the beautiful hills of Appalachia or a 2-3 hour drive to the beaches that North Carolina has. Ohio does not have the panache of the west coast. Ohio cannot change its geography or topography. But what Ohio does have is Omeris, with Tony, John and Catharina preaching to all who will listen about all of the positive assets of Ohio and why this area is ripe for biotech investment and development. They can sell my house anytime.

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