The Latest: Manager named to lead Ohio opioid challenge

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Latest on an Ohio high-tech panel's incentives for fighting the opioid crisis (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

The firm chosen to lead Ohio's Opioid Technology Challenge has managed similar competitions for NASA and the Department of Homeland Security.

Cleveland-based NineSigma Inc. won the $8 million management contract Tuesday. Most of the money will go to prizes. The challenge aims to generate innovative solutions to prevention, treatment and overdose response.

It is being combined with up to $12 million in search-and-development grants seeking scientific breakthroughs for solving the U.S. opioid crisis, which has seen its highest number of overdose deaths in Ohio. More than four dozen groups have signaled their intention to apply for the grants.

Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) called for the new investments during his April State of the State address. Ohio's Third Frontier Commission agreed to the spending in May and is pursuing an accelerated schedule.

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10:30 a.m.

A call by Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) for scientific breakthroughs to help solve the opioid crisis is drawing interest from dozens of groups with ideas including remote controlled medication dispensers, monitor devices for addicts and pain-relieving massage gloves.

The state has received project ideas from 44 hospitals, universities, and various medical device, software and pharmaceutical developers that plan to apply for up to $12 million in competitive research-and-development grants.

Ohio leads the nation in opioid-related overdose deaths, counting 1,155 deaths in 2015, the latest year figures were available. The Ohio Third Frontier Commission is handling the grant program and expects full proposals by an Aug. 31 deadline.

The Republican governor put out the call during his State of the State address in April.

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