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ABIA Hires Biomedical Executive, Serial Entrepreneur as Chief Operating Officer

AKRON, Ohio, Feb. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Proven technology entrepreneur and executive Vince Kazmer has been named chief operating officer of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. 

During his career, Kazmer, a Hudson resident, founded four life science companies, including EndoRetics, Interventional Imaging, Copernicus Gene Systems and Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals, which was sold to Merck for more than $1 billion in 2006. Additionally, he was president and CEO of six biotechnology/biomedical companies including a publicly traded company. These companies utilized a variety of technologies, among them a Nobel Prize-winning pharmaceutical technology, MRI technology and non-invasive bariatric treatment for obesity. During his career, Kazmer has developed a wealth of experience transferring university technologies into the business world.

"Mr. Kazmer is performance oriented and has regard for both our short- and long-term horizons," said Dr. Frank L. Douglas , ABIA President and CEO. "He has a proven track record in numerous aspects of building successful companies from fund raising and public offerings to business development and intellectual property agreements. He is the ideal leader to help ABIA build upon the culture of entrepreneurial-based innovation, economic development and sustainable growth."

Kazmer's fundraising background includes closing four equity financing rounds from venture capital, angel and public sources totaling more than $30 million, as well as, traditional finance mechanisms and grants. 

"I was attracted to ABIA because of the uniqueness of the institute and its partnership. I'm eager to aid in the growth of ABIA, and be a vital part of an emerging leader in life science discovery and commercialization," Kazmer said.

Kazmer earned his master's in business administration at Stanford University and a bachelor's degree in computer and information science at the Ohio State University. He started his business career at B.F. Goodrich in Akron after serving as a U.S. Navy submarine officer.

Further strengthening ABIA's future, the Board of Directors announced that Douglas, who has led ABIA since its founding, has agreed to remain the institute's President and CEO through 2016. 

"Dr. Douglas has established ABIA as a national center of excellence in the biomedical field during the three years he has led the organization," said William Considine , board chairman. "The board and the city of Akron have witnessed the benefits of Dr. Douglas' leadership, as ABIA has helped create a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration. Dr. Douglas' experience and vision is transforming Akron's education and medical institutions into a collaborative center for discovery and enterprise in the life sciences."

Dr. Douglas said he has been impressed with the accelerated innovation and collaboration that is occurring within ABIA and its partners.

"I am committed to delivering on our strategy of patient-centered innovation and commercialization, and am excited to continue leading ABIA's talented team," said Douglas, who joined the organization in 2009. "The ABIA partnership is well positioned to be a major player in the life science innovation space. We have experienced some tremendous successes during the past three years but more work lies ahead.  Our partnership is quickly establishing a proven track record of growing ideas that lead to company and job creation and a healthier community." 

Under Douglas' leadership, the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation honored ABIA and the University of Akron Research Foundation for creating one of the nation's best innovation and entrepreneurship processes, ISIX. ABIA also formed a unique partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to explore the properties and performance of biomaterials for medical device use, and it launched the National Value-driven Engineering initiative to help assist American medical device inventors and manufacturers become more competitive in the global marketplace.

In 2012, ABIA opened its new $13 million headquarters, which provides a rare combination of research, product development and training facilities that is unique to Northeast Ohio and among the leading centers of its kind in the country.

About Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron
Based in Akron, Ohio, the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron — a unique collaboration of Akron Children's Hospital, Akron General Health System, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Summa Health System, The University of Akron and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation — is focused on patient-centered innovation and commercialization at the intersection of biomaterials and medicine.  The institute is focused on being a global leader in discovering, developing and commercializing biomaterials solutions for patients with orthopaedic and wound healing problems, nationally distinct in improving health outcomes, and widely recognized for the use of simulation technologies to improve the education and performance of the entire healthcare team.  To learn more about the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, please visit

Media Contact:
Scott Rainone , Office of Communications & Government Affairs, 330‐572‐7581,

SOURCE Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron
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