Tech giant Canon Inc. is gearing up to make Cleveland the home of a U.S.-based medical imaging unit that would significantly expand the company’s research and development efforts in the country.
Canon plans a big investment — on the order of $300 million over the next few years — to establish what will be known as Canon Healthcare USA Inc. The unit will launch in January with about 20 employees but is projected to grow to 200 or more over the next four to five years, according to the man tapped as chairman of Canon Healthcare USA, Hiroyuki Fujita, Ph.D., the founder and CEO of Mayfield Village-based Quality Electrodynamics. (Canon in 2019 bought Quality Electrodynamics, known as QED, which develops and manufactures coils that go inside magnetic resonance imaging machines.) Leading Canon Healthcare USA as president will be Hisashi Tachizaki, who will report to Toshio Takiguchi, president and CEO of Canon Medical Systems Corp.
Fujita said in a Zoom interview on Monday, Dec. 5, that Canon Healthcare USA will start with employees based at QED’s operations on Beta Drive in Mayfield Village but eventually will require its own building. He said in the interview, « We have several sites under consideration » and mentioned two specifically: an expansion of the QED headquarters, already home to about 170 employees; and Opportunity Corridor, a burgeoning development site in Cleveland that offers quick access to the city’s largest health care institutions, the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals.
Other potential sites are in the mix, Fujita said, adding, « There are some sites that have been reaching out to us. » He did not, however, identify other sites. Fujita said Canon Healthcare USA would consider both new construction and renovation of an existing facility, though it likely would own, rather than lease, its space.
Fujita said the company has been working with JobsOhio, the state’s private nonprofit economic development corporation, in the search process. « The support we are getting from JobsOhio has been excellent, » he said, adding that Canon Healthcare USA hopes to identify a site in the first quarter of 2023.
Matt Englehart, a JobsOhio spokesman, said the nonprofit does not disclose whether it’s in project discussions with companies.
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Marie Zickefoose, a city of Cleveland spokeswoman, said in a statement that the city « is continually working to bring innovative businesses and quality jobs to the city and to the Opportunity Corridor. We are pleased to be on the list of locations under consideration by Canon Healthcare USA. »
Mayfield Village Mayor Brenda Bodnar wrote in an email, « Under the leadership of Dr. Fujita, QED has been an innovative industry leader in medical imaging equipment, and we are proud that QED has chosen Mayfield Village as its home. We are excited about the prospect of expanding QED’s headquarters to include the operations of Canon Healthcare USA. »
John Marquart, the village’s economic development manager, said « there’s nothing firm » regarding an expansion of QED in Mayfield Village. He added, though, that village officials have « stayed in pretty constant contact with the company (QED) » over the years and « We stand ready to help » aid an expansion project if necessary.
He pointed out that Mayfield Village voters in May approved a zoning overlay that gives property owners on Beta Drive greater flexibility to manage their properties by, for instance, reducing setbacks and increasing building height.