A message from Executive Director, Heather Ellis:
We are excited to be celebrating 15 years of OTRADI and 10 years of the Oregon Bioscience Incubator (OBI). I would like to thank all the Oregonians who have supported the work that we do at the OBI. For those who don’t know our background, OTRADI is a non-profit institute primarily funded by the state of Oregon via grants administered by Business Oregon.
OTRADI and the OBI are 100% driven by our mission, which is to fuel the economic development of Oregon’s bio industry by translating innovative research into the next generation of products and companies that benefit health and create high-wage jobs for Oregon.
In a recent economic impact survey of the 18-year period between 2002 and 2020, total bioscience employment in Oregon increased 85% (+5,270 jobs), total wages increased 215% (+$593.4 million), and average annual wages increased 71% (+$31,340). Oregon’s 1,480 life science firms and leading academic and research institutions generated a total economic impact of almost 66,000 jobs and $15.7 billion in output in 2020. (Association, 2022)
Since OTRADI’s inception in 2008, we have done our best to listen to the needs of these startups and we have evolved and responded to these needs by building our facility and developing programs to help build and advance the bio startup community in Oregon. OTRADI has evolved over the past fifteen years from a research institute, which was what was sorely needed at that time, into—ten years ago—building out and opening the Oregon Bioscience Incubator—the state’s first and only bio-focused startup hub.
In 2013, when we opened the doors of the OBI, we started with six startup companies. In response to overwhelming demand, we have expanded throughout the years, and we are now home to thirty-two startup companies working on innovative new drugs, medical devices, and digital health IT products.
Our goal was simple—do everything in our power to make it easier for scientists to take the plunge and launch and grow their own startup companies here in Oregon.
Bio startups are different than other startups. Before they can bring their health and wellness products to market, they must overcome the high bar set by the FDA— which requires specialized space, highly trained personnel, a long timeline, and lots of investment. We heard this, and the OBI responded by building our incubator to be a physical home with labs and specialized equipment for startups.
Bio startups also need a robust network of mentors, advisors and investors to succeed. We heard this, and the OBI responded by creating the state’s first BioMentoring network, made up of more than 120 professionals willing to donate their valuable time to help bio-entrepreneurs across the State succeed.
Bio startups also need entrepreneurial support and a community of public and private organizations to help them grow. We heard this, and the OBI responded by building strong partnerships and collaborations with the state’s research universities and support organizations, including Oregon Health and Science University, Oregon Bioscience Association, Technology Association of Oregon, Oregon Entrepreneur Network, Portland State Business Accelerator, private venture capital funds, angel investment groups, developers, and more. We thank these key partners for their hard work and long-time support of our bio startup community.
Although I am biased, I truly believe that the OBI holds the state’s most innovative and promising startup companies. Every day at the OBI, is about showcasing and advancing our 32 startup companies’ work, so please let me take a moment to brag on their behalf.
In the past 15 years, the state’s investment in the OBI has allowed our startups to raise $685M in federal and private funding, generate $85M in revenue, and create 871 jobs. I am more than proud of our startups’ return on investment for Oregon, and we’re just getting started.
We see incredible promise on the horizon. The OBI will be here to listen and to respond to the evolving needs of our bio startup community as they catapult Oregon into the international spotlight with their innovative work.
Please let me thank the most important people within our organization. Thank you to OTRADI’s esteemed board of directors; to our two Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, Bill Newman and Gordon Hoffman; and to OTRADI’s small but mighty staff, including Rene Miller, Susan Thompson, and Sarah Vivian.
Finally, let me thank the immensely talented companies that currently reside at the OBI:
Health Technology Innovations
Vaginal Biome Science
We truly believe that Oregon entrepreneurs will drive the next generation of breakthroughs to improve lives. Thank you for your collaboration and support over the past fifteen years, and we look forward to your continued support as partners in these exciting days to come.
Oregon Bioscience Association. (2022). Oregon’s Bio Boom 2022 Economic Impact Report. https://www.oregonbio.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/2022FinalEIR_Full.pdf
AirOmatix is developing the only portable oxygen concentrator for high-flow oxygen patients, freeing them from bulky oxygen cylinders. Our novel, patent-pending technology will also enable us to develop low-flow oxygen concentrators that are smaller and quieter than existing options.
ESG Brands is a sustainable technology company operating in the materials science space with agricultural waste as feedstock. ESG Brands core technology is a green chemistry based degumming process for the textile industry–clothing and footwear, home textiles, and technical textiles–converting agricultural waste into cotton 10x faster than conventional processes with potable water as a byproduct. In addition, the company is active in sustainable manufacturing and the broader materials science space: food and beverage, and next-gen bio-synthetics. ESG Brands believe that Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) is essential for a sustainable future, and are committed to using business to make a positive impact on the planet. The first materials product from ESG will be marketed as BANEX, the world’s next natural fiber, from the daily waste streams at banana plantations.
AirOmatix and ESG Brands join the OBI on June 15, 2023. Let’s give them a warm welcome!
Synergic Medical Technologies (alumnus):
We have a network of over 120 BioMentors who are available to provide short-term pro bono advice and assistance to promising life science and digital health entrepreneurs across the state of Oregon. Our BioMentors have valuable expertise in a wide range of business topics that are integral to the success of early-stage life science companies, including:
If you have a bioscience or health innovation startup and need office space, come talk to us! We operate the only bioscience-focused incubator in Oregon, with private offices, private labs, co-working space, and shared labs for startups in bioscience – including digital health, medical devices, AI/ML, diagnostics, therapeutics, pharmaceuticals, and more! We have brand new office spaces available now.
Submit your facility inquiry here and let’s schedule a time to talk.
Health Tech Forum:
Care Beyond the Provider’s Office
June 15, 2023
Google – Portland
Free to attend – register here
Pride Happy Hour
June 20, 2023
DAT Freight & Analytics – Portland
Free to attend – register here
2023 Invent Oregon Collegiate Challenge Finals
June 22, 2023
Redd East – Portland
Free to attend – get tickets
Angel Oregon Tech Finale & Innovation Showcase
June 22, 2023
Jupiter NEXT – Portland
Get tickets here
Oregon Bioscience Incubator
Happy Hour Networking
July 6, 2023
River Forum Outdoor Patio – Portland
Free to attend – register here