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High-Tech Pain Pill Among Ohio Grant Award Winners


The state has awarded nearly $10 million for several research and development projects that aim to stem opioid addiction.

The grants are part of the $20 million Gov. John Kasich said he wanted to set aside for high-tech solutions to the epidemic. This could be the first step in changing the face of the fight.

“We look at it as a new class of opioid,” says Greg Sturmer from the medical technology start-up Elysium Therapeutics. They’re developing a new kind of pill that would limit how much of the painkilling substance would be released into the body.

Sturmer says this can prevent overdoses and even stop addiction.

“So there’s not that reward for ‘The more I take, the more-high I get,’” Sturmer says.

Elysium got nearly $3 million from the state, which Sturmer says can help the company move forward with its testing on animals and eventually humans.

Other projects that got state money include programs that use analytics to identify and prevent addiction, other types of pain management devices, and a web-based service that can streamline recovery services.

The grant competition is part of Ohio's two-pronged strategy to drive innovative research and development in opioid and addiction science.

The second element is an $8 million Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge. State officials were generating ideas for the contest Thursday with a Tech2025 hackathon event in New York.

Ohio saw 4,050 overdose deaths last year, among the highest in the nation. Many were linked to heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.