Recently I had the opportunity to meet with Robert Priest, COO, and Peter Gringas, President & CEO of Viscus Biologics, whose offices are headquartered here in Warrensville Heights. Viscus, a commercial tenant of Weston’s since 2018, is an advanced research & development company that specializes in natural polymer and extracellular matrix materials. What does that mean, exactly? An extracellular matrix helps cells attach to nearby cells, playing a key role in cell growth and repairing damaged tissue. It is used in the process of treating wounds and restoring tissue to a healthy, functioning, and durable state.
Founded in 2012, Viscus began their operation at the Cleveland Clinic’s Innovation Center where they occupied a small lab space. Upon receiving FDA clearance, they began manufacturing product. One of the products they produce on site is a tissue that they clean and decellularize into a powder form which yields a shelf stable component that is used for wound dressing. Another product that Viscus developed is a tissue marker called FibremarX. Visible on a standard x-ray or CT scan, the marker is passed through soft tissue and tied into place during certain types of surgical procedures to mark a tissue location. They will ship pallets of product out to their warehouses, essentially acting as a factory and distributing under a business-to-business model.
The Viscus space consists of 1/3 office, 1/3 clean room, and 1/3 warehouse. The clean room is an engineered space divided into sections consisting of sealed floors, washable walls & ceilings, and hepa-filtered air circulating throughout. There is an area for research & development, non-collagen production (gels), a wet processing room (where raw tissue is brought in and chemically treated), and a freeze drying room. When the tissue product comes in, they have a -300 F walk-in freezer where it is stored. Climate control is key, and the building has a system and back-up generator that monitors the cold storage and will alert in the event of an issue.
From starting out in a 6’ x 8’ modular clean room vestibule at the Cleveland Clinic to now utilizing almost 15,000 SF, Viscus is just getting started. We are very pleased to have Viscus in the Weston family and hope to be able to accommodate their growth far into the future!