CLEVELAND — The mission of BioEnterprise will continue in Northeast Ohio as the nonprofit corporation turns its assets and operations over to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University.
3News' Monica Robins received the following joint statement from Cleveland Clinic, UH and CWRU:
"When launched in 2002, BioEnterprise represented a new and invaluable addition to Northeast Ohio -- both in terms of offering knowledge and expertise to emerging start-ups, but also in helping establish Northeast Ohio as a nationally known innovation hub. Thirteen entities have leases there. Over the ensuing years, our region has benefited enormously from those efforts, and today our region has such a thriving and integrated ecosystem that much of what BioEnterprise did now takes place organically across the community. Our three institutions regularly collaborate on pioneering research and steps to bring breakthroughs to market -- both with each other and with entities within and beyond the region."
The three also released additional details with the following statement early Monday afternoon:
"In connection with the transaction, CWRU will purchase real estate owned by BioEnterprise, which is made up of a condominium of two floors at 11000 Cedar Ave. in Cleveland. BioEnterprise’s assets will be used by the three institutions to further the BioEnterprise mission.
"Currently, BioEnterprise runs a biomedical and biosciences technology business incubator (the “Incubator”) in that location. Case Western Reserve will assume responsibility for operation of the Incubator and honor its current tenants’ leases.
"The university expects to develop plans for a revitalization and reimagination of biotechnology business incubation in the current space or elsewhere. CWRU is developing a broader strategy around early-stage business development and is excited to have BioEnterprise as part of this important initiative.
"All of our organizations look forward to Northeast Ohio’s next phase of biotechnology development."
Officials say BioEnterprise was “formed for the purposes of developing biomedical and biosciences technology and related companies in Northeast Ohio.”
3News first reported in 2019 that the BioEnterprise’s billings were the subject of Cuyahoga County grand jury subpoenas and an Ohio Attorney General investigation. 3News also first reported in 2020 that an independent audit was being done on BioEnterprise’s work.
Here are details from our previous reporting:
"That audit concluded BioEnterprise double billed tax-supported entities for more than $100,000 in salaries and expenses found BioEnterprise sought reimbursement from the convention facilities board and then asked for reimbursement for the same things -- in the same or similar amount -- from JumpStart, a nonprofit that distributes and manages state tax dollars that go to BioEnterprise.
"Among items double billed were portions of salaries for two employees and public relations expenses. BioEnterprise's contract with the facilities board and its deal with JumpStart for grant money allowed it to seek reimbursements for certain expenses.
"Records released to 3News also show the convention facilities board also asked the Ohio Auditor to examine BioEnterprise’s expenses. The auditor’s office assigned a review to its special investigation unit, which identified $244,073 in expenses, including 'direct, consultant, salaries and benefits' that were doubled billed to the county and to JumpStart."
Cuyahoga County later settled a lawsuit against BioEnterprise that resulted in the company repaying more than $127,000. The Global Center for Health Innovation, which BioEnterprise struggled to fill with tenants, is also being renovated as an extension of the Huntington Convention Center.
Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published in a previous story on Nov. 15, 2021.