The Rise of Biotechnology in Oregon

Since the early 2000s, Oregon has seen its biotechnology scene explode and it continues to grow exponentially. The Oregon Bioscience scene grew over 32% between 2002 and 2007. Today, Oregon is home to over 600 private biotech companies and research institutions with a total economic impact of over $6 billion and 37,000 jobs. In particular, Portland, Bend and Eugene have seen the collaboration between Oregon universities and their collaborators such as the Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute (OTRADI) and the Oregon Bioscience Association (OBA), rewarded by the evergrowing number of life science companies successfully launched and graduating from the initial startup phase. The largest industry subgroups in Oregon includes medical devices, sponsored life science research, diagnostics, research services and equipment, biotechnology and biological product manufacturing. In 2014, 673 grants were awarded to 42 firms, among which 43 SBIR and STTR grants.

In addition to money, mentoring and networking are necessary ingredients for moving bio startups forward. The Oregon bioscience community is actively tackling these key issues by multiplying networking opportunities to help bring together scientists, investors and business mentors in a friendly atmosphere. That spirit of collaboration allows Oregon to be competitive on the national market. In a collective approach to grow the bioscience landscape and further raise its profile among the global industry, OTRADI recently launched a $1 million fund campaign to fuel the institute’s priority initiatives. In 2015, they expanded the Oregon Bioscience Incubator (OBI) to 16,000 square feet to host 11 startups, and created OTRADI South, a learning lab in Corvallis at the Oregon State University’s College of Pharmacy. In Central Oregon, OTRADI is launching a BioMentoring program to spur more incubation, featuring more than 70 experts who kindly offered their time, as a complimentary gesture, to entrepreneurs in need of advice on topics ranging from finance and marketing to regulatory compliance and international expansion. In February 2016, OTRADI released their new interactive bioscience ecosystem map and directory, which includes a comprehensive database for the Oregon bioscience industry. Bend and Eugene are very entrepreneurial cities with an abundance of bioscience professionals in most market sectors and the bioscience industry is quite exceptional for towns this size. It is estimated that there are now as many as 700 bio jobs in Bend and many believe that number will only grow.

To support biotechnology companies and provide the extra training and resources for potential employees, OBA offers a free but competitive training program, which provides mid-career workers with professional certificates in areas of need such as “Quality Assurance”, “Medical Device Foundations” or “Big data in biomedicine”. March 2016, Investor Month in Oregon, featured an investor outreach event hosted by OTRADI to showcase OBI client companies, while OHSU presented its annual Startup Symposium for bio entrepreneurs to further showcase the latest technologies from our growing bioindustry. In addition, “Intellectual property” and “Company Valuation” topics drew record OBI Lunch & Learn turnouts in Portland.



What is the difference between Angel and VC investors?

Angel investors are individual investors or groups of investors who are investing their own money. Venture capitalists (VCs) are companies that invest money on behalf of other people. VCs typically raise one or more funds containing money from investors, pension plans and other sources and then use each fund to make a range of different investments. 

SciStart partners with Assay Depot

We are excited to announce our partnership with Assay Depot, a global marketplace for life science services. This partnership will help SciStart members to easily create and run virtual companies from technologies listed on our site. 

At SciStart, our expert network evaluates the scientific and commercial merit of early-stage technologies. We then facilitate licensing or startup creation around high scoring technologies. 

Startup Opportunity: Early cancer diagnosis

Glioblastoma is an aggressive brain cancer for which there is no known cure. The current treatment options for glioblastoma are invasive surgery and chemotherapy and the 5-year survival rate for patients with glioblastoma is 18%. Diagnosis and treatment of glioblastoma could be greatly improved if the disease could be detected earlier. 

Market research: Transitioning from ‘Me-First’ to ‘Customer-First’

The Lean LaunchPad program trains scientists to talk less and listen more.

Coming up with new ideas for innovative products and services is second nature to many academic scientists. But as most academic science is often self-driven by sheer passion, it is hard for scientists to cast aside their personal biases and truly assess the market need for their invention. 

Startup Opportunity: Eurekite

Startup entrepreneur Bahruz Mammadov doesn’t believe in limitations. He believes in using science to change how we think about everyday materials. Bahruz and his colleagues at the Dutch startup Eurekite have developed a ceramic material that is as light and flexible as paper. It is elastic and can withstand temperatures up to 1200°C.

Eurekite is using their flexible ceramics, which they call Flexiramics, to develop new hardware like circuit boards. But they are also interested in finding new biomedical applications for their technology.

 Join or login to SciStart to contact Bahruz about this opportunity.

Startup Stories: Shane Wieters from Manager Mint

  1.  What does Manager Mint do?

Manager Mint is a three-part company. We specialize in media creation and sharing across our online presence. This includes interviews with business professionals, video and article creation as well as exclusive content and offers in our Business E-Magazine. Secondly, Manager Mint is a consultative service that specializes in helping entrepreneurs to refine their concept or vision into something that is tangible and helping guide them along the creation process from concept to market. We also teach leadership development courses to help startups or established businesses create a powerhouse team that has a solid foundation of accountability to help drive a successful business. Lastly we are a business resource hub. We know we are not the experts in everything, but we can help connect you with businesses that are. Our goal is to become The Most Valuable Business Resource. 

Startup Science: 10 tips for Friends and Family Funding


  1. Be considerate. Only take money from people who can afford to lose it. Only take liquid assets. Don’t have grandma take out a second mortgage on her house to help fund your startup. 
  2. Be fair. Don’t cheat your friends and family investors by over-valuing your startup.
  3. Be professional. Treat this like any other funding round. Know exactly how much money you need to move your business forward and exactly how you will use these funds. Write a business plan, list each milestone and then itemize any purchases you need or any activities you need to do to achieve it. Small details are important.
Startup Science: 10 Startup Funding Sources

Image from

  1. Self funding. Unfortunately the first round of funding must often come from the entrepreneurs. Unless you have a strong track record of founding successful startups, you will need to develop your product or concept before someone else is willing to invest in it. 
10 Traits Academics and Startup Entrepreneurs Have in Common

Most academics have no business training and no experience starting a company. But they have many of the traits needed to be a successful startup entrepreneur. 

  1. Problem solving. Academics solve problems for a living. If an experiment doesn’t work, they must try different approaches until they get the answer they need. Entrepreneurs are also excellent problem solvers. They are always being thrown new obstacles that must be overcome when starting or building a company. 
Canadians and their biotechnology - a success story

in Deutsch


Canada has a proud history in the development of biotechnology: milestones include the discovery of insulin in 1922 and the first polio vaccine in 1955, the world’s first commercial grown biotech crops in 1995 and biofuel jet test in 2012 through to contributions to the development of an Ebola vaccine. 

Bioentrepreneurs wanted: Biotech in Hungary

From wine, cheese and bread to antibiotics, vaccines and biofuels, biotechnology has a long history in Hungary. Notably, the term itself was coined by Hungarian agricultural engineer Károly Ereky in 1919. Modern biotechnology dates back to the establishment of the Biological Research Center of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in the early 1970s, followed by a state development program dedicated to biotechnology research in the 80s. Biotechnology became an independent sector after 1990, building on local competence in plant biology, drug development and a traditionally strong pharmaceutical industry. Nowadays the sector is dominated by medical (red) biotech, which involves more than 50% of companies, complemented by bioinformatics and industrial (white) biotech (29%). Meanwhile the share of agricultural and food (green) biotech has been steadily shrinking. 

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Why should you join SciStart?

We understand that there are literally thousands of different companies out there vying for your time and attention. You have probably already joined a number of different social media platforms and are thinking ‘What can I get out of another platform? How is SciStart different from LinkedIn and facebook and everything else out there? How is SciStart going to help me in my career?’ 

Biotechnology in Germany – facts and figures

in Deutsch

Biotechnology, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), is defined as “The application of science and technology to living organisms, as well as parts, products and models thereof, to alter living or non-living materials for the production of knowledge, goods and services”. In other words, biotechnology is multitalented with applications in medicine, agriculture and industry. 

How to select the right VC for your company

The search for the right partner

During the fundraising process, the first thing on an entrepreneur’s mind is making sure that one gets the best deal possible, ideally obtaining a high valuation and sufficient capital for growth. However, is that all there is? The relationship with a VC should be a true partnership, one that spans 5 to 7 years. Hence, it is important that the VC provides much more than capital – there are many aspects that the entrepreneur can leverage on. On the flip side, the VC often sits on the board and closely monitors the company. The voting and veto rights that a VC will have means that the VC can make sudden corporate changes in the interest of its investment, a move which is not necessarily aligned in the interest of the entrepreneur. Because of the nature of this long partnership, it would be beneficial if the VC provides much more than money. Below are some traits that the entrepreneur should look out for, when selecting the right VC. 

The VC method for valuation of an early stage company

Valuation of early stage companies

It can be very challenging to put a dollar value on early stage companies, because there are many qualitative factors that play a role in valuation. The earlier the stage, the more variability these factors can have. However, the entrepreneur must always know how to quantify this as best as possible. 

Basics of venture capital

venture capital

What is venture capital?

Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of fledgling companies. But when the company needs to scale, and scale quickly, significant financing can be required, often beyond what any one individual would be willing to risk. Growth capital at the very early stages of high risk, high growth-potential companies, is frequently provided by venture capital (VC), a type of private financial capital. At this stage of the company, startups are unable to acquire loans from banks because of a lack of cashflow and/or product. Venture capital fills the funding void between early stage seed funding, and product reaching the market place. 

Blue Biotech: an Ocean of Opportunity

by Shauna Bennett

Biotechnology aims to apply biological organisms, agents, or materials towards goods and services. This can cover areas such as drug discovery, environmentally friendly products, natural pollution remedies, laboratory research tools, and nature-inspired materials. The area of biotech that focuses on resources from the sea has been named blue biotech, and this industry is proving that there is a lot that the ocean has to offer. 

Biotech and Herbal Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine has developed along with the history of China and has had great influence on medicine development in China and nearby countries, including Korea and Japan. Traditional Chinese Medicine includes, but is not limited to, herbal medicine, acupuncture and dietary supplements. Compared to modern medicine, which is supported by science, traditional Chinese medicine has evolved from shared experiences passed verbally between generations and limited written documents. 

Why so many young scientists are pushed out of academia

in Deutsch


Obtaining a PhD is the first step towards a successful and triumphant career, so you thought before entering graduate school. After years of hard work during your PhD, things should be looking up, right? You find a good postdoc position and you are on your way to having your own lab. Except it’s not that easy. Look at what happened to Ethan Perlstein - a successful young scientist with an excellent track record, a PhD from Harvard and a postdoc in Princeton with publication in top journals who could not find an Assistant Professor position. He ended up running an independent research lab, Perlstein Lab, much like a small biotech company.

Startup Science: Biotech Marketing

Biotech success

Big biotech and pharma companies have a whole army of people marketing their products to many different groups including doctors, patients, the FDA and other businesses. Biotech startup founders don’t have that luxury. They have to do everything themselves. It’s easy to push marketing down to the bottom of the list when you have to develop your product, deal with regulation and woo investors.

But effective marketing is essential to your success. You will never sell your product if no one knows about it. Here are 10 easy steps to marketing your biotech company. 

Science Writers Wanted

It is hard for academic scientists to transition into industry jobs. If you are looking for a job in biotech or pharma, one of the best things you can do is network. Knowing the right people will really help you get a foot in the door.

It is also really important to gain some experience in the type of job you want. This will help you to showcase desirable skills when it comes time to apply for jobs.

So we want to offer opportunities to gain real experience here at SciStart. The first opportunities we have are for science writers and infographic designers. You don't need any experience to write for us, we are happy to help you learn as you go.

If you are interested please contact Leah at

Biotech Numbers: US vs Europe

Startup Science: How to launch a successful biotech startup

The biotech startup failure rate is often quoted as 90%. Therefore most investors avoid early stage biotech startups like the plague. However research and development costs money that biotech entrepreneurs often don’t have. So what can you, as a new biotech CEO, do to maximize your chances of creating a successful startup and attracting much needed funding? Here are the most common suggestions from many sources around the web. 

What is Biotech?

Here at SciStart we define biotech as any technology related to biology. That means any treatment that improves the health of humans, animals or the environment and any technology that uses biological organisms.

Many people think of biotech as searching for new medicines and that is a very important part of it, but biotech also includes many other things such as diagnostic tests, medical devices like pacemakers, reagents to do experiments, software to help track patient health, agricultural equipment, biofuels, surgical tools and suture material, and many other technologies.

The biotech industry needs scientists, medical professionals, engineers, IT experts and business people to all work together to create new technologies. It also needs patients, patient advocacy groups and science lovers to tell us what you need us to invent.

Biotech has many faces – it is much more than you think at first glance. Join SciStart for free at to learn more. 

What is SciStart?

SciStart is an online community for people interested in biotech and life sciences. It's a place where you can meet, and interact with, bio-entrepreneurs and inventors, investors and industry experts. If you have a biotech idea or question, you can post it as a discussion and get feedback from our community. If you have a patented technology, you can use our platform to do market research and technology valuation. If you are looking for a job, you can reach out to industry professionals and become part of discussions to raise your profile. If you are looking to employ, you can find search for people with the skills and attitudes you require.

SciStart was born out of the frustration with how the life sciences industry is segregated - Pharma, small biotechs and academia function separately rather than as complementary parts of a cohesive whole. There is no simple and easy way for investors to find all the new ideas and emerging technologies out there. Likewise, inventors and entrepreneurs have no centralized way of finding out who is most likely to invest in their technology. This segregation means that biotech, and life sciences in general, do not operate as efficiently as they could. Just as an example, it costs on average more than a billion dollars to bring a drug to market. And over 90% of biotech startup companies fail.

The answer is to get everyone together - to let investors find the new ideas quickly, to let inventors connect with the right people who have the money and expertise to push their ideas and technologies towards success.

The answer is SciStart - biotech startup community.

It takes less than a minute