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OHIO startup DHI signs new lease on life

May 4, 2007
George Mauzy

The recent confirmation that Diagnostic Hybrids Inc. is staying in Athens was a cause to celebrate on Friday.

DHI, a local biomedical company, signed a lease that sealed its plans to move this fall into the former McBee building at 1005 E. State St. The building has been vacant since Deluxe Corp. closed the McBee Systems check-printing plant in 2005, leaving 360 Athens area workers unemployed.

The firm is housed in Ohio University?s Innovation Center and Biochemistry Research Facility on West State Street. It was launched in the Innovation Center in 1983 and in 2004 was listed 219th on Inc. magazine's list of the 500 fastest-growing private U.S. companies.

"Since the inception of Ohio University, it has been a core value of our institution to be part of the solution to problems that have affected our region and state. From their innovative science to their sound business practices and community support, (DHI) has played a central role in our region, and the company?s success is just the beginning," said Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis, who was among those making remarks at Friday?s event. 

The firm, which has a workforce of 170 employees, innovates, develops, manufactures and markets cellular and molecular diagnostic kits for detecting various diseases and ailments. 

"We always knew Athens was the right place to stay and grow," Scholl said, noting the benefits of being near the university. "This is an evolving company, and we must recruit a smart workforce."

In her remarks, Innovation Center Director Linda Clark recognized several individuals who helped create the Innovation Center 25 years ago. "I want to recognize Wil Konneker, Charles Ping and Alan Geiger for their vision for the center," she said. "They saw the need and established a place to assist entrepreneurs in their pursuit of creating and growing companies, which resulted in the Innovation Center." 

Other speakers Friday included U.S. Sen. George Voinovich, an Ohio University alumnus; Athens Mayor Ric Abel; Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Anne Pope; and Governor?s Office of Appalachia Director Fred Deel.

The graduation of Web- and print-design company MediaBrite from the Ohio University Innovation Center after four years as a client also was celebrated at the event. Like DHI, the company will remain at the Innovation Center until it moves in fall 2007. The four-employee company is considering office space at the McBee site.

According to a 2006 report done by Ohio University?s Institute for Local Government and Rural Development, the Ohio University Innovation Center was responsible for an estimated 217 jobs and $10.1 million in labor income. The center?s businesses also were responsible for an estimated $1.4 million in state and local tax revenue.

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