ONAMI’s Life Science, Healthcare & Pharmaceutical companies represent many segments – from devices to drugs. Some already have successful products in the marketplace. Others are advancing their inventions in the lab. Still others are actively seeking investors and/or commercial partners.
If you’re an inventor, you might find technologies like yours. If you’re an investor, you can be assured these companies have been thoroughly vetted by the ONAMI Team. Call or email us if you have quesitons.
Project Title: Expression and Characterization of Clinically Relevant Proteins Produced Using an Optimizable E. coli Expression System
Prinicipal Investigator: Larry David, Oregon Health & Science University
Company Principal: Sean McClain, AbSci, LLC
Project Description: AbSci has developed a proprietary engineered E. coli expression system, SoluPro™ that will allow for an easily optimizable and scalable production of soluble recombinant proteins. Our game-changing core technology allows proteins (including antibodies and enzymes) to be produced at a fraction of their current cost, without any corresponding loss in performance characteristics. In addition, use of the versatile SoluPro™ platform accelerates the R&D process by enabling rapid access to soluble protein for screening purposes. These therapeutic proteins and antibodies are used in cancer and hormone therapies, as well as autoimmune and blood disorder therapies.
Utilizing ONAMI Gap funding and advanced analytical methods available from the Oregon Health & Science University, AbSci is working to use this novel engineered expression system to efficiently produce and perform extensive characterization of three clinically relevant proteins. Development of these three case studies, which have been explicitly requested by a global top 10 pharmaceutical company, is underway at AbSci’s facility in the OTRADI Bioscience Incubator, another Oregon Signature Research Center. To complement the work performed by AbSci, the mass spectrometry core facilities at Oregon Health & Science University managed by Dr. Larry David, will develop techniques to perform comprehensive structural analysis on the proteins produced using AbSci's SoluPro™ platform.
Company status: AbSci has continued to develop the SoluPro™ product, an all-in-one protein expression platform, which produces complex proteins ranging from full-length antibodies to insulin using the simplest, best studied, and least expensive organism, E. coli.
AbSci advantages include:
AbSci currently collaborates with leading pharmaceutical companies to enable step-changes in productivity to their bio-pharmaceutical R&D and manufacturing. The company is supported by a syncidate of experienced investors including AGC, Oregon Venture Fund and Phoenix Venture Partners.
Company Website: abscibio.com
Project Title: Nanosystem for the delivery of Hypoxia-Activated-Prodrugs
Prinicipal Investigator: Adam Alani, Oregon State University
Company Principal: August Sick, Cascade Prodrug
Project Description: Cascade Prodrug, working with researchers from Oregon State University, is working to examine the key molecular mechanisms involved in the activation and function of lead anti-cancer compounds, specifically targeting tumor hypoxia using prodrugs. By selectively targeting tumor hypoxia for activation, the prodrugs are less toxic to nomral cells than the corresponding parent drugs thereby providing a safer, mor eeffetive cancer treatment. Data generated in this project will provide Cascade Prodrug with a clear path for drug development, attracting investors who need this critical information in order to provide the capital for Cascade Prodrug to build a product development team in Oregon.
Company Website: cascadeprodrug.com
Project Title: Manufacture and Toxicological Evaluation of Preventive Malaria Drugs based on Nanotechnology
Principal Investigator: David Peyton, Portland State University
Company Contact: Lynnor Stevenson, Ph.D., CEO, DesignMedix, Inc.
Description: DesignMedix, Inc. is a drug development company focused on overcoming drug resistance, one of the major challenges impacting human health and drug development today. The DesignMedix approach offers both a mechanism to overcome resistance, and the ability to develop an ongoing series of novel drugs. DesignMedix has designed and synthesized a library of novel candidate drugs called reverse chloroquines (or RCQ's) to combat several important infectious diseases. In the company's most advanced drug development program, lead compounds have been shown to overcome malaria drug resistance in human red blood cells in vitro, and to provide a cure in animal models. DesignMedix has partnered with Dr. Peyton to develop nanotechnology-based drug delivery methods for malaria prevention and treatment. In this project the DesignMedix / PSU team will select the nanocarriers most appropriate for preventative delivery of malaria drugs, and develop a scale-up process for the cost-effective synthesis of drug candidates in sufficient quantities for safety and oral availability testing. In September 2012, DesignMedix was awarded an SBIR grant by the National Institutes of Health for manufacture of malarial drugs related to this ONAMI Gap grant. In March 2009, DesignMedix won the Oregon Entrepreneur's Network "Angel Oregon" competition, to receive additional investment of $150,000. (See here for more details.)
Company Website: designmedix.com
Project Title: Anti-microbial Fabric Treatment using Nanosilver
Prinicipal Investigator: Kurt Langworthy, University of Oregon
Company Principal: Richard Geiger, Ph.D., Dune Sciences, Inc.
Project Description: Dune Sciences, working with researchers from the University of Oregon and with access to facilities and equipment at the Lokey Laboratories, is working to develop a protocol for increasing the manufacturing scale of their wash-on, durable, antimicrobial fabric treatment that prevents bacterial contamination of treated textiles. The product can be safely and economically applied to virtually any textile at any step in the textile manufacturing process from treating thread to treating finished products at home by consumers in their own laundry. The company is also using ONAMI funds to gather the data required to gain EPA regulatory approval for their antimicrobial treatment.
Company Website: dunesciences.com
Project Title: Development of a microreactor based Automated Library Construction System for DNA sequencing systems
Principal Investigator: Eric Johnson, The University of Oregon and The Oregon Institute of Molecular Biology
Company Contact: Nathan Lillegard, CEO and President, Floragenex, Inc.
Description: Floragenex and the University of Oregon are partnering to revolutionize gene sequencing process with the development of an automated system for preparing DNA samples for analysis by next generation DNA sequencing systems. Utilizing microreactor technology in partnership with the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute at Oregon State University, the team is working to develop sample preparation methods which provide higher throughput, lower cost and greater repeatability than existing methods of DNA sample preparation. Since receiving this ONAMI Gap grant, Floragenex has developed into a company specializing in applications using Restriction site Associated DNA Sequencing. RAD Sequencing (RAD-Seq), a breakthrough technology enabling scientists to efficiently discover and genotype large amounts of genetic information, in any plant or animal system, at a competitive cost.
Company Update: Floragenex is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sedia Biosciences Corporation. Sedia (www.sediabio.com) is a U.S.-based healthcare company focused on the development and commercialization of novel in vitro diagnostic and epidemiological tests including the Sedia™ LAg-Avidity EIA and BED HIV-1 Incidence EIA. The company is dedicated to advancing access to medical care by developing innovative diagnostic and monitoring products that enable more cost effective and expanded testing for infectious diseases and other conditions. Based in Portland, Oregon, Sedia develops, manufactures, licenses and sells in vitro diagnostic and epidemiological tests as well as specimen collection devices.
Company Website: floragenex.com
Project Title: Microchannel Kidney Dialysis Demonstration
Principal Investigator: Dr. Kevin Drost, Oregon State University
Company Contact: Mr. Michael Baker, Home Dialysis Plus
Description: HD+ and Oregon State University are demonstrating fabrication and performance of a microchannel dialyzer for the multi-billion dollar market for hemodialysis. The dialyzer allows for continuous flow treatment which enables a patient to undergo treatments up to 8 hour a day, a situation which more closely simulates natural kidney function and is expected to enable use of the dialyzer for home dialysis. The system design is intended to perform favorably against current solutions with lower blood damage, reduced volume of blood outside the body at a given moment, excellent dialysis functionality, and lower cost.
Since receiving this ONAMI Gap grant, HD+ has received investment from Warburg Pincus, a leading global private equity firm focused on growth investing, and The Vertical Group, a venture capital firm that manages private partnerships with a “vertical” range of investments in the medical technology and biotechnology fields.
Project Title: Lipidomics in AD subjects for skin barrier restoration and disease prevention
Prinicipal Investigator: Dr. Arup Indra, Oregon State University
Company: Lipidomics, Inc.
Working with the Oregon State University College of Pharmacy under the direction of Associate Professor Arup Indra, and start-up company Lipidomics, ONAMI has provided Launch funding to develop of a simple one-step method to battle eczema / atopic dermatitis in individuals in a non-invasive way. The objective of the current study is to identify the skin lipids that correlate to skin infections and/or contribute to barrier disruptions leading to skin inflammation and pathogenesis of AD, and to validate the identified skin lipids for their potential to mitigate bacterial skin infections.
Following isolation of the skin surface lipids, a methodology has been developed to characterize >100 skin lipids (metabolites) including (saturated and un-saturated ceramides, free fatty acids, cholesterol, cholesterol-sulfate, triglycerides, sphingosine and sphinganine) by Ultra-performance LC- MS/MS (Mass Spectroscopy) using the untargeted lipidomic approach.
Project Title: Developing a Dental Imaging Product
Principal Investigators: Prof. Jack L. Ferracane, PhD (OHSU) & Prof. Thomas J. Hilton, DMD, MS (OHSU)
Company Contact: Peter Lovely, VP and CTO
Description: LuxRay Dental Systems, Inc. is an early stage company focusing on products which dramatically improve dental imaging and aid in the trend for minimally invasive dentistry. With support from ONAMI, LuxRay is working with Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) on a proof-of-concept project that will help to position LuxRay for commercializing the resulting product. The project is aimed at two crucial goals that the product must achieve to be competitive: ease of use and good image quality.
Project Title: Microfluidic Devices for Drug Discovery: Electrophysiological Measures in Nematode Worms
Principal Investigator: Dr. Chris Doe, University of Oregon
Company Contact: Shawn Lockery, NemaMetrix
Description: The NemaMetrix / University of Oregon team is working to achieve ultimate proof-of-concept for a microfluidic device designed to accelerate drug discovery using the microscopic nematode C. elegans as a model organism. The device is based on the long-established finding that the nematode throat, or pharynx, is extremely sensitive to many classes of drugs, including the anthelmintics, which are used to ward off nematode infections in humans and livestock worldwide. The pharynx is a neuromuscular pump involved in feeding. It beats regularly, like the heart, emitting large electrical signals that can monitored on the surface of the body, as in an electrocardiogram or EKG. In nematodes, such recordings are called an "EPG." To date, NemaMetrix has demonstrated a recording system that monitors EPGs in eight nematodes at once while simultaneously applying minute quantities of drugs to each one. This device has the potential to transcend a key bottle-neck in the anthelmintic discovery pipeline: the determination of mode of action. There may be additional applications with respect to distinguish between true anthelmintics and non-specific biocides (generic poisons).
Company Website: nemametrix.com
Project Title: Dural Clip Commercialization
Prinicipal Investigator: Justin Cetas, MD, Ph.D., Oregon Health & Science University
Company Principal: Rachel Dreilinger, NeuraMedica, LLC
Project Description: Utilizing ONAMI Gap funding, as well as market research support, with technology initially developed at the Oregon Health & Science University, Neuramedica seeks to commercialize a proprietary Dural Clip & Applicator surgical device. The device is a bioabsorbable clip and applicator system for use in neurosurgery to close incisions of the Dura Mater (durotomy). This Dural Clip & Applicator device may be used by neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons in the closure of spinal dural openings saving the hospital significant costs by reducing operative time. This system will make closure of the dura much quicker as the application of several Clips in a row will take seconds to apply.
Project Title: Material Process for Medical Grade Isotopes
Principal Investigator: Steve Reese, Oregon State University
Company Contact: Nick Fowler, CEO, Northwest Medical Isotopes
Description: Northwest Medical Isotopes and Oregon State University are working to alleviate the shortage of medical grade isotopes in the United States. Their novel target design seeks to use Low Enriched Uranium targets in TRIGA reactors for this purpose, yielding optimized fission production of medical isotopes such as 99Mo for diagnostic and therapeutic imaging.
The ultimate objective of their work is to create a license amendment to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in support of experimental irradiation of a single target in a TRIGA reactor, followed by experimental validation of the team's design.
Company Website: nwmedicalisotopes.com
Project Title: Novel fixed curved array multichannel device for MRI targeted prostate biopsy
Prinicipal Investigator: Dr. Fergus Coakley, Oregon Health and Sciences University
Company: OmnEcoil Instruments, Inc.
OmnEcoil Instruments is developing a new patent-pending biopsy device that will enable the collection of prostate biopsies in a one-step procedure (vs. the existing two-step process) with reduced false negative results, improved diagnosis of cancer virulence, and reduced patient morbidity.
The current standard-of-care for prostate cancer diagnosis is systematic transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy (or TRUS-guided biopsy) – a procedure that employs an ultrasound probe to obtain 12 or more needle core biopsies from the prostate. The biopsy samples are obtained from randomized locations on the prostate due to ultrasound’s limitations with visualizing cancerous lesions. This standard approach is associated with disturbingly high rates of false negative diagnosis (missed cancer, 15-46%), overdiagnosis (detection of indolent Gleason 6 cancer of questionable clinical significance, 45%) and underdiagnosis (undergrading of the cancer when compared to the final surgical pathology, 38%).
An alternative procedure, MRI-guided prostate biopsy, can accurately visualize likely cancerous sites for biopsy and has been shown to reduce the rates of false negative diagnosis, overdiagnosis, and underdiagnosis. This two-step procedure first involves a Diagnostic MRI of the prostate, which is best performed with an endorectal coil inside the rectum as this increases tumor detection from 45% to 76%, and is followed days later with an MRI-guided biopsy. The MRI-guided biopsy also requires that a device be placed in the rectum – a single channel needle guide used to direct the biopsy needle to cancerous lesions on the prostate – making this a two-part procedure, performed separately, on different days, with obvious potential healthcare costs.
OmnEcoil is developing a new biopsy device – funded in part by ONAMI Launch and Gap Grants – which combines an MRI endorectal coil and biopsy needle guide into one instrument, allowing for the simultaneous conduct of two procedures (diagnostic MRI and MRI-guided biopsy). When used in tandem with MRI-guided biopsy, OmnEcoil’s biopsy device could be a win-win, providing tumor localization and increased accuracy, reduced costs to patients and the healthcare system, and a more convenient and comfortable procedure for prostate patients.
Project Title: Rapid and Accurate Blood Volume Determination
Company Contact: Dr. Theodore Hobbs, Oregon Health and Sciences University, and QuantiPort, Inc.
QuantiPort, Inc. is developing a point-of-care medical device that quickly, accurately, and safely measures blood volume. Blood volume is an important physiological parameter in the assessment of blood loss due to trauma, major surgery, or GI ulceration. Results are expected to be generated within minutes and may be repeated several times an hour to allow assessment of ongoing blood loss or to assess the effects of therapeutic interventions such as blood transfusion. The QuantiPort device is intended to provide physicians with diagnostic power to save more lives and reduce health care costs for millions of patients.
Project Title: CMV vectored vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV) and characterization of their immune responses in Rhesus macaques
Principal Investigator: Klaus Früh, Ph.D., Oregon Health Sciences University
Company Principal: Eric Bruening, Ph.D., TomegaVax, Inc.
Description: TomegaVax is a biotechnology company focused on developing vaccines for critical unmet medical needs. It was founded by a world class team of scientists with expertise in virology, immunology, and vaccine development to commercialize the Cytomegalovirus vaccine platform developed at OHSU’s Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute (VGTI). Antigens delivered by CMV vectors induce a continuous low level stimulation of the immune system that results in an active T-cell mediated immune shield. The platform technology is ideally suited to address targets such as HPV which can take decades to progress to cervical cancer, while remaining otherwise hidden from the immune system. CMV-based vaccines have demonstrated pre-clinical efficacy in some of the most debilitating diseases known to man including HIV, Ebola, and tuberculosis. This proposal, combined with ongoing SBIR funded preclinical development of CMV vectors against HPV, will help establish the utility of the TomegaVax platform as a therapeutic cervical cancer vaccine.
In January 2017, VIR Biotechnology, a San Francisco-based biotech company acquired Tomegavax. Vir lead investors include ARCH Venture Partners and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. ARCH Venture, whose co-founder Robert Nelson led the formation of Vir, has committed to invest $150 million. Learn more about Vir Biotechnology, its strategy to address serious infections diseases, and the role of Tomegavax, here.
Project Title: Development of Commercialized Process for Brominated Fluorohydrocarbons
Principal Investigator: Rich Carter, Oregon State University
Company Contact: Michael Standen, Valliscor LLC.
Description: Valliscor and Oregon State University are developing a process for the manufacturing of bromofluorinated hydrocarbons for use in the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries. Fluorine-containing pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals provide superior chemical properties such as a longer half-lives toward metabolism and improved solubility. Existing processes for synthesizing fluorinated building blocks (such as bromofluorinated hydrocarbons) often require toxic reagents and/or generate considerable chemical waste. Our process uses environmentally friendly reagents and greatly reduces the amount of chemical waste produced. Valliscor was founded in 2012 by Rich G. Carter and Michael C. Standen to exploit the synergy between industrial know-how and academic innovation for accessing high-value organic building blocks used by the pharmaceutical, biotech and agrochemical industries. The ultimate objective of their work is to demonstrate the capability of producing brominated fluorohydrocarbons on a commercial scale with a least one commercialized chemical entity.
Company Website: valliscor.com