The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron has extended its chief executive’s contract and recruited another experienced entrepreneur to help lead the regional partnership.
The institute recently offered President and Chief Executive Dr. Frank L. Douglas a contract extension through the end of 2016.
Douglas, 69, came to Akron in 2009 to serve as the institute’s first president and chief executive under a four-year deal that was set to expire at the end of the year.
Under his leadership, the institute opened its new $13.3 million headquarters on North Main Street in downtown Akron last year and launched several national initiatives.
“We’re about to take this to the next level,” Douglas said. “It would be nice to participate in getting it to the next step.”
The BioInnovation Institute also hired Vince Kazmer, 63, of Hudson, for the new position of chief operating officer.
Kazmer joined the institute this week after spending more than 25 years working with area biotech firms, including launching several spinoff ventures.
Most recently, he led a startup company that is working with Ohio State University physicians to develop a minimally invasive surgical treatment for obesity.
In his new role, Kazmer will oversee day-to-day operations and seek more revenue-generating opportunities for the BioInnovation Institute, Douglas said.
The venture is a partnership among Akron’s three health systems, the University of Akron and Northeast Ohio Medical University, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The institute pulls together the university’s polymer science knowledge, the medical college’s musculoskeletal and research expertise and the strength in orthopedics, wound healing and other clinical areas at Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron General and Summa health systems.
The partnership’s goal is to expand the local economy through medical-related research, education and commercialization while also working to improve the health of area residents.
Kazmer said he was attracted to the job after following the progress of the BioInnovation Institute in recent years.
“There are more opportunities here than you would have with a single company,” he said. “ABIA is unique. I know of no other organization that is like it.”
Kazmer said he plans to use his experience from starting biotech companies to help the BioInnovation Institute identify ways to take advantage of the expertise the partnership offers.
Douglas said moving the institute toward self-sufficiency is key in the coming years.
ABIA has relied on $20 million in support from 2008 through 2014 from Knight Foundation, along with $9.1 million in cash and $10.9 million of in-kind support, spread between 2009 and 2013, from the five founding partners.
“I view my role as having a major influence on the sustainability of ABIA,” Kazmer said.
The executives’ salaries were not disclosed. Douglas earned $544,395 in compensation and $36,303 in other benefits from the institute in 2010, according to the nonprofit’s most recent available filing with the Internal Revenue Service.
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.