After catching up recently with Lisa Hale, CEO of Grace Bio-Labs (see Part 1 of the conversation here), Oregon Bio asked her a few more questions. Grace Bio-Labs is headquartered in Bend, Oregon. Having launched three decades ago, the company is now a globally recognized developer and manufacturer of tools for life science research, working to understand how protein and single-cell interactions are relevant in cancer detection.
As a voice of industry, we wanted to hear more about Grace Bio-Labs perspective.
OR Bio: What does Oregon bio-ecosystem need more of?
LH: That’s easy – the research and development tax policies enjoyed by almost every other state in the nation. We’ve lost many companies in our industry to border states for just this reason. That takes jobs and technology out of our state. We must work together as an industry on a solution here.
OR Bio: What are the top three things Grace Bio-Labs learned as a biotechnology company in Oregon?
LH: Our headquarters has been in Oregon for more than 30 years. However, we are small, growing and pivoting to keep ahead of technology while keeping manufacturing in Oregon. This is a significant short-term investment for long-term return. With the support of statewide and local economic development programs, such as Opportunity Zones, there is a good deal of support to leverage for companies like ours to keep jobs in the state and our country. The workforce training from Oregon Bio and the Governor’s Regional Solution teams are a couple of other great examples of support. Until recent years, we simply did not understand how to navigate this support for our company. And, I’d be remiss without mentioning our local EDCO team in particular!
Last, participating in efforts to recognize Oregon as a technology hub leader: Our numbers are really starting to climb putting us on the map with the major markets (Bay Area, Seattle, San Diego, Boston, Maryland and North Carolina’s Research Triangle, for example). I’m often faced with “Bio in Oregon?” or “Where is Bend?” questions from our global customers. That said, it’s an easy conversation after we share the map and talk about skiing…