The biotechnology and health technology community in eastern Washington has a loyal start-up base. They praise their local contacts and the support of a close knit group of entrepreneurs.
This information was recently echoed by several CEOs and founders of the region at the east west life science summit. The east west life science summit is a meeting hosted by the Washington life science industry group.
Georgina Lynch, co-founder of appiture biotechnologies, said: “we have established long-term relationships and communities in this region, which enables innovators to promote creativity, build networks and build connections in a way that cannot be achieved in more urbanized areas.” Appiture biotechnology is developing a method to diagnose autism by measuring the light reflection of the eye. She is also an assistant professor at Washington State University at Pullman.
Appiture is one of several start-ups nurtured by the WSU technology transfer office in the region, although not all WSU derivatives remain.
As early as before its public offering last year, WSU neurosciences sprint athira Pharma had entered Seattle, as did cancer targeted technology. The company is developing prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment technology and has reached a license agreement with pharmaceutical giant Novartis.
However, shade Needham said at the meeting that the remaining companies will get lower living costs and a stable employee base, because the pace of life in the region is not as busy as that in big cities.
“Once someone finds the right job, they won’t leave, so the turnover is very low,” said Needham, who owns alturas analytics, a contract research organization for chemical analysis for pharmaceutical companies. The company is located in Moscow, Idaho, adjacent to the Washington border.
Entertainment options close to Seattle and the region have also attracted more and more technology companies to Spokane, such as Seattle based pet company rover, which has an outpost in the city.
Scientific and technological activities have promoted a larger entrepreneurial ecosystem in Spokane, which has a population of about 500000. Startups can enter institutions such as greater Spokane incorporated, business development organizations, startups Spokane and Spokane County, a Washington state funded group that grants to the life and health science research industry.
Last December, WSU launched a Spokane based incubator for early life sciences companies. Spokane (SP) ³ NW) provides laboratories and office space for start-ups, including H source, the market where hospitals buy and sell medical products to each other, and allele diagnosis of clinical gene testing companies.
Startups are also supported by early investors in the region, such as entrepreneur Tom Simpson, who sold his e-commerce company etailz for $75 million in 2016. As CEO of ignite funds and President of Spokane Angel alliance, he has supported dozens of start-ups in Spokane region.
Since 1921, Spokane has been the headquarters of a company called HollisterStier, which is producing ingredients for COVID-19 -19 vaccine. Contract research organization is a subsidiary of global joy pharmaceutical company.
Participants said that East Washington has a talent pool and early funding opportunities to support the development of more life sciences.
David hojah, CEO and founder of parrots, said: “you can build a good relationship here soon.”. With funding from Simpson and other supporters, hojah established an eight employee start-up to develop assistive technologies for patients with multiple sclerosis and other diseases. Parrots also recently won the second place in a competition sponsored by Novartis. The technical equipment of the competition supports vision. It looks like a parrot.
Hoja used to live in Boston and recently moved to Spokane from Seattle. So far, his impression is positive: “this is connection, people, atmosphere and energy.”