Why UO’s Knight Campus will boost Oregon’s fortunes (guest column)

The $1B project still needs lawmakers to approve $100M in bonds, an investment its new director says will bring together the whole state. Patrick Phillips The University of Oregon will break ground on the $1 billion Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact this fall —made possible by a $500 million donation from the Knights — and the labs, classrooms, prototyping space and other core facilities will be the foundation for new scientific activities that will transform research at the university. As a biologist who has spent nearly 20 years at the university, I am excited and energized to have the facilities and resources needed to turn scientific discoveries into treatments, products and innovations that benefit all of society. But UO cannot do it alone. For the first phase of the project, we have asked state lawmakers to partner by providing $100 million in bonds for construction of one of the buildings. No tuition dollars or state funding are needed for the ongoing operations and activities supported by the buildings, so the state’s initial investment will be matched better than 10 to one. You only get one chance to lay the foundation for something with lasting impact, which [...]

Portland biotech startup foresees rapid growth from HIV test

Elizabeth Hayes, Staff Reporter, Portland Business Journal Typically, an HIV diagnostic test takes a few hours to run and requires a laboratory. A Portland biosciences company is developing a hand-held test that can produce accurate results from a drop of blood in just 20 minutes — and estimate how recently the infection occurred. Sedia Biosciences Corp.’s rapid HIV test could potentially speed up diagnosis of the disease, especially in developing countries, and play a big role in slowing the global AIDS epidemic. It could also prove a vital tool in helping clinicians identify candidates for new “functional cures” that reduce viral levels to the point therapies can be suspended, said Ron Mink, Sedia’s president and chief science officer. Read more at

Drug price transparency bill will not lower Rx costs

David Beier, San Francisco Chronicle Why is drug price transparency legislation like the wolf in “Little Red Riding Hood”? It was because the wolf was pretending to be something he was not. Equally, there is state legislation that is pretending to be about transparency in drug pricing when it is really about limiting the profitability of biotech firms. That kind of government control would deter investment in new and innovative biopharmaceutical treatments. Under a bill introduced by state Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina (Los Angeles County), drug companies would be required to disclose their prices and offer detailed data about their cost. According to its supporters, the purported transparency SB17 requires is supposed to expose that drug company spending on an individual drug cannot justify the price. This assumption fundamentally misunderstands the drug development and financing process. Read more at

DesignMedix’s malaria drug to enter clinical trials with support from NIH

NEW RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Sandra Shotwell, CEO,, 503-348-0855 Portland OR: DesignMedix Inc., a drug development company targeting drug resistant infectious diseases, has entered into an agreement with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that will pave the way for first-in-human clinical trials of DesignMedix’s malaria drug DM1157. The agreement is with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the NIH, and builds on the strong package of preclinical data DesignMedix has developed to prepare its malaria drug for clinical trials. Under the agreement, NIH will sponsor a Phase I clinical trial of DM1157. The trial will be conducted at Duke Clinical Research Institute, and is expected to commence in late 2017. “Diseases like malaria are a significant hurdle to the health, productivity and prosperity of millions of people around the world,” said DesignMedix CEO Sandra Shotwell, noting that malaria parasites have developed resistance to almost every malaria drug currently available. “Our malaria drug is designed to overcome drug resistance. We believe it will make a positive impact on global health, and appreciate the support provided by NIAID’s services to achieve this key milestone: the first-in-human studies of our novel malaria treatment.” DesignMedix [...]

Grant-supported interns available for your company

Oregon Bio is excited to partner with OHSU and OSU to connect member companies with qualified interns. We will help match your needs to highly motivated and qualified undergraduate and graduate level interns from OSU and OHSU. Timing for Ph.D. students can be flexible, by mutual arrangement. For more information, please contact Lynn Ekstedt, […]

OTRADI Bioscience Incubator Creates Smart Health Annex for Digital Health Startups

The Rest of the Story: Oregon Bioscience Association’s 2016-’17 Annual Report Dylan Vance and his team at Jupiter Devices have a vision for a commercially successful product that could one day help millions of diabetics receive blood sugar readings in a noninvasive, accurate and efficient way. But transforming that product vision into commercial success also requires a bold vision of the kind of environment that can bring their idea to reality. Enter the OTRADI Bioscience Incubator’s new Smart Health Annex. “We were looking for more than just space,” said Vance, CEO of Jupiter, the first startup to take up residence at the incubator’s digital health themed annex. “We were looking for people who understand not just what it is we’re doing, but also how scientific research turns into medical products.” The Smart Health Annex is connected to OTRADI’s highly successful Bioscience Incubator (OBI), which now houses a total of 17 bioscience startups in its building at Southwest Macadam Avenue. The complex was initially set-up to offer young bio companies office space, wet-labs and other facilities often financially or logistically out of reach for bio startups. But as Vance and OTRADI Executive Director Jennifer Fox point out, the need for mentoring [...]

Oregon Bio Offers New Member-Friendly Web Design, New CRM

The Rest of the Story: Oregon Bioscience Association’s 2016-’17 Annual Report Exactly how many marketing people does it take to redesign and enhance a bioscience association’s website? Well, if that association’s marketing manager has a Ph.D. in engineering from Cal-Berkeley, the answer may only need to be one. Ashley Fritz, marketing manager for Oregon Bio, spent a large part of the previous year positioning her design eye and her engineering brain to give the association’s website a new look and feel. As a self-described “visual” person with coding experience and her technical background, Fritz set out to create a website redesign that would be pleasing to users in terms of aesthetics, relevance and usability. “When I was brought on to do the project, I knew I had to marry what's available technically with our new design,” says Fritz. “Sometimes you’re limited, so while I was designing, I was simultaneously building the site. I think that approach worked out pretty well.” Fritz says a major priority was adding useful features where Oregon Bio members and other site visitors could more easily see what is happening in the Oregon Bio world and quickly learn what's going on. Among the redesigned website’s new [...]

Oregon’s Bio Talent Pool Boosted by Innovative Grant

The Rest of the Story: Oregon Bioscience Association’s 2016-’17 Annual Report If there’s a common challenge shared by all Oregon bioscience companies, Lisa Hale of Grace Bio-Labs efficiently sums it up from her company’s perspective and location in Bend.  “Our success depends on attracting and retaining talent in Central Oregon,” says Hale, vice president of the fast-growing Central Oregon biotech company. The vital, statewide goal of expanding the world-class talent pool of highly trained workers for Oregon’s bio companies recently received an unprecedented boost. In the 2015-17 legislative biennium, the state’s Oregon Talent Council awarded Oregon Bio a historic $750,000 grant for advanced workforce training. As the largest grant award in Oregon Bio’s 26 years, this state funding is earmarked to implement, grow and accelerate workers’ knowledge, skill sets and experience as part of regional workforce development for un- and under-employed Oregonians. This wave of intensified, regional training targets workers in the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon. Says Denise McCarty, executive director of Oregon Bio, “With this forward-thinking grant, our association’s exceptional training continues to thrive, and it gives our companies confidence in Oregon’s promise of a trained workforce and talented workforce pipeline they can count on.” The grant framework [...]

Annual Conference Tops Attendance; Focuses on Emerging Researchers and Company Showcase

The Rest of the Story: Oregon Bioscience Association’s 2016-’17 Annual Report It’s impossible not to notice Jackie Wirz’s enthusiasm when it comes to the diverse members of the state’s bio landscape getting together for Oregon Bio’s annual conference as they did at Reed College last October. “Our community is vibrant, excited, and performing incredible work,” says Wirz, assistant dean for student affairs in graduate studies at OHSU and coordinator of the conference’s “Research Fast Pitch” competition. “From bacteria that can solve the plastic garbage problem to innovative treatments for Parkinson’s disease, our participants were able to truly showcase their fascinating research!” The popular Research Fast Pitch and “Company Pitch Showcase” competitions further energized last fall’s already-buzzing atmosphere at the event, Oregon Bio 2016: The Bioscience Landscape. Considered by many of the more than 300 attendees to be the association’s most impressive conference to date, the gathering featured a futurists’ panel, as well as powerful presentations by Columbia Sportswear on innovations strategy and by Intel Life Sciences on the future of precision medicine. “We look to find topics and features that the majority of our diverse members have a connection to,” says Ashley Fritz, Oregon Bio’s marketing manager and coordinator of [...]

WEB ONLY: Making Internal Processes More Efficient, Bio Staff Creates Time to Focus On Members

The Rest of the Story: Oregon Bioscience Association’s 2016-’17 Annual Report If you ask Oregon Bio’s executive director Denise McCarty or the association’s director of member services and business development Julie Black how the last year happened to go by so quickly, they may not have an answer. But with an Oregon Bioscience Association agenda that included mapping in-house processes to look for automation possibilities, creating and launching a redesigned website, implementing a new CRM system or transitioning to QuickBooks online, they will tell you this: They’re “making” time. That creation of more time is completely in line with their goal of spending more time interacting with and serving Oregon bio members. “When I first started at Oregon Bio, we had three full-time people and, within a year, were down to two and a half but doing more,” said Black. “Now we now have six people and the association is investing in its resources. We’re now much more proactive instead of reactive in providing our members with what they need.” Membership at the Oregon Bioscience Association is increasing, and McCarty believes rethinking a lot of the manual processes at the organization has been the key to serving the growth. She [...]