Voice of Industry: Sedia 2.x: Expansion, relocation and scaling up tracks growth, Part 1

Oregon Bio recently caught up with Sedia Biosciences Corp.’s founders Roger Gale and Ron Mink, Ph.D. to learn more about the company’s growth and innovation strategies.

Recently, Sedia worked with the City of Beaverton to relocate to expand product manufacturing capabilities to serve an increasing demand for HIV diagnostic and epidemiological assays, specifically HIV recency diagnostics. Although the company started small in Portland in 2009, just a decade later it now counts 40 employees (and growing), serving global customers in more than 80 countries.

Q: How does Sedia fit into Oregon’s biotech and life science ecosystem? The region?

A: Sedia’s in-demand HIV recency assays are designed not only to determine if a patient is HIV positive but can differentiate between a long-term and short-term HIV infection. Identifying and treating recent HIV infections is the key to breaking the chain of infections because early diagnosis and treatment of new infections has been shown to successfully reduce HIV transmission.

As Sedia continues to grow, the company engages in the sector and with Oregon Bio. Additionally, we utilize Portland State University’s core facility and hire graduates from the Portland Community College’s Bioscience Technology Program. Recently, the Portland Business Journal recently ranked Sedia Biosciences as one of the top ten largest bioscience and health technology companies in Southwest Washington and Oregon.

Q: How does Sedia innovate?

A: Our vision for Sedia is to increase access to care through innovation in under-resourced areas around the world. In such under-resourced areas globally, assays that are cost effective and simple to use can have dramatic impacts both independently or when incorporated into test, trace and treat programs.

In three key ways, Sedia strategizes to innovate: 1) Internally create novel product development and commercialization; 2) In-license novel and innovative technologies; and 3) Expand through spin outs, mergers and acquisitions or create independent business units that support the company vision.

Sedia logo long

Sedia has executed on this strategic plan by developing the novel AsantéTM  Dried Blood Strip (DBS) for use in areas where venipuncture or shipment of whole blood is challenging or not effective, and licensing technologies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for full commercialization efforts of HIV epidemiological and diagnostic assays. Additionally, we expanded our business line via our 2016 merger with Floragenex Inc., a spin-out of the University of Oregon focusing on providing high quality genomic services.

Q: What are Sedia’s growth plans? How has 2020 been for Sedia so far?

A: Well, for one thing, we just recently moved the company to a new and larger space at 26,667-square-foot manufacturing and research facility in Beaverton. It’s exciting because this facility will ensure Seia is able to meet not only product demand and quality requirements for diagnostic assays around the world, but be able to innovate new technologies for years to come. To meet product demands, we’re increasing manufacturing capabilities through acquisition of increasingly automated equipment and expanding the production and quality staff by 25% this year. Beyond 2020, Sedia has its sights on becoming one of the largest manufacturers of diagnostic assays on the west coast, where greater than 90% of each product is made in the U.S.A.

So far 2020 has been a challenging time, to say the least, but also has provided unique opportunities to help solve some of the most difficult situations the world has ever faced. Sedia, both internally and externally, has risen to this challenge. Internally, Sedia formed a COVID-19 task force to identify and implement best practices for the protection of both employees and nearest family members as well as implementing special PTO and leave policies to ensure a safe and health workplace environment. Externally, Sedia has taken the charge of developing novel COVID-19 diagnostic assays specifically for our partners and customers in under-resourced areas.

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