OHSU startups receive investments at Angel Oregon Life and Bioscience Showcase

OHSU startups ProMedix and Trace Biosciences received new investments at the second annual Angel Oregon Life and Bioscience Grand Finale and Innovation Showcase.

ProMedix, co-founded by OHSU faculty members David Sheridan, M.D., and Matt Hansen, M.D., took home the top prize $175,000 “angel” investment at the May 2023 Angel Oregon Life and Bioscience Finale and Showcase.      

OHSU members celebrate three investments for OHSU startup companies at the AOBIO Finale. Top left to right: Travis Cook, Eugene Tu, Jonathan Jubera, Anne Carlson, Philip Barish, Steven Baker, and Connor Barth. Bottom left to right: Claudia Nakama, Scott Filer and Cadence True. (Whatever.Photo/Jason DeSomer)

Angel investments are funds, sometimes accompanied with mentorship and other support, made by private investors who finance small businesses in exchange for equity in the company. These investments are typically made in early-stage businesses so they can grow and develop their innovations.

Angel Oregon Life and Bioscience, or AOBIO (pronounced A-O-Bio) is a premier life and bioscience investment program in Oregon, hosted by Oregon Entrepreneurs Network in partnership with Oregon Bioscience Association, Oregon Bioscience Incubator/OTRADI and OHSU. The AOBIO angel investments at this showcase were made possible by 15 local investors and the Oregon Growth Board.

Solutions to health care challenges

At the Angel Oregon Life and Bioscience Finale and Showcase, ProMedix chief executive officer Scott Filer, M.P.H., M.B.A., and chief technical officer, Steven Baker, Ph.D., were on hand to accept the new investment, which will help the company advance the development of FlowSense, a new device to improve the diagnosis of sepsis.

Sepsis—a chain reaction to an infection—is the most common reason for admission into hospital intensive care units. But clinicians currently lack reliable tools for diagnosing and assessing sepsis. FlowSense, originally conceived of and designed at OHSU, was the subject of a recent publication, demonstrating clinical validation of the technology’s ability to aid in the diagnosis of sepsis in an emergency room setting, potentially allowing clinicians to treat it earlier and keep patients out of the intensive care unit.

Angel funding was not the only investment in OHSU-linked companies at the event. The Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute awarded additional investments to ProMedix, which received $75,000, as well as to the OHSU startup company Trace Biosciences.

Trace Biosciences, which was awarded $125,000, was founded by OHSU members Summer Gibbs, Ph.D., Connor Barth, Ph.D., and Lei Wang, Ph.D. The company is developing Nerve Trace, a novel fluorescent agent that, in real time, provides direct highlighting of nerves during surgery. Using near-infrared fluorescence, Nerve Trace makes it possible for surgeons to identify nerves buried beneath the surface, potentially sparing patients from long-term nerve damage complications.

Both ProMedix and Trace Biosciences received early funding and support from the Biomedical Innovation Program, a program of the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute, and OHSU Innovates via the University Venture Development Fund and the IDEA Fund.

The Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute and the Biomedical Innovation Program are supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number UL1TR002369.