Opioid crisis: Ohio awards $10M toward tech-based treatment research

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The latest efforts to end the opioid epidemic

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Ohio on Thursday awarded $10 million in grants to companies seeking tech-based solutions to the U.S. opioid and addiction crisis, months after President Donald Trump declared the issue was a public health emergency.

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The Ohio Third Frontier Commission awarded the grants for ideas that include development of pain management alternatives and a mobile app to improve addiction treatment.

The seven grant winners emerged from a field of 44 initial projects submitted by hospitals, universities and various medical device, software and pharmaceutical developers. About $2 million less was awarded than the commission had made available.

The state is energized as its efforts progress, and commission Chairman David Goodman.

"We put out the call for promising technology that could help combat the national opioid problem," he said. "We're excited about how these innovations might be part of the solution."

Trump is donating a portion of his third-quarter presidential salary toward efforts to raise awareness for the opioid crisis. The president earns roughly $400,000 a year.

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Last August, Trump called the national opioid crisis “a serious problem the likes of which we have never had.” More than 183,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses alone from 1999 to 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The grant competition is part of a two-pronged strategy the state is using to drive innovative research and development in opioid and addiction science.

The second element is an $8 million Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge, a competition modeled after the Head Health competition launched by the NFL, Under Armour and GE to address traumatic brain injuries. State officials were generating ideas for the contest Thursday with a Tech2025 hackathon event in New York.

The efforts come in a state among the hardest hit by the deadly opioid epidemic. There were 4,050

overdose deaths in Ohio last year, many linked to heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

The grant recipients are:

— Cordata Healthcare Innovations, Cincinnati, $1.5 million, for data and predictive analytics to better identify high-risk locations for abuse and overdose locations and to improve intervention.

— DeUmbra, Inc., Austin, Texas, $861,000, for a web application that uses artificial intelligence to identify patterns in patient data.

— Elysium Therapeutics, Inc., Danville, California, $2.98 million, to commercialize a compound inhibiting opioid absorption during overdose.

— Innovative Medical Equipment, Lyndhurst, Ohio, $177,000, for device that uses heat and cold instead of opioids for chronic and post-operative pain.

— Sober First LLC, dba Ascent, Cleveland, $464,000, for web-based, 24-hour recovery hotline.

— Sollis Therapeutics, Columbus, $2 million, to commercialize implantable non-opioid, non-steroid drug device combination for treatment of sciatic nerve pain.

— University of Akron, Akron, $2 million, to commercialize degradable mesh that releases a local anesthetic in place of oral opioids for managing post-operative pain

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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