OHSU Provides New Services for Its Startup Companies

04/22/04    Portland, Ore.

"Springboard Project" to provide OHSU startups with an array of accounting, business development and legal support

New businesses founded on discoveries made at Oregon Health & Science University are getting a boost from a new suite of accounting, business development and legal services provided by the university.

The collection of services forms the Springboard Project, which gives selected OHSU startups access to experts in business plan development and review, local venture capitalists, and mentoring from local entrepreneurs. OHSU startups are chosen to participate in the Springboard Project through a competitive review process.

"OHSU Technology and Research Collaborations (TRC) founded the Springboard Project to encourage researchers to move past hurdles in establishing new companies," said Dan Dorsa, Ph.D., OHSU vice president for research."

Jan van Santen Springboard Project companies also receive financial support for incorporation, other initial legal expenses and a year of accounting services. Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP, will provide legal advice, and On-Site Financial Inc., will provide accounting services.

New businesses eligible for the Springboard Project must involve an OHSU faculty member; be based on an OHSU invention or discovery disclosed to TRC; have an agreement with OHSU through TRC to license the technology to the new company; and be based in Oregon.

To date, awards have been made to two recently founded businesses:
• Biospeech Inc. will use cutting-edge speech and language technologies to develop products that help patients with a broad range of communication and neurodevelopmental disorders. Biospeech Inc. is based on technologies invented at the Center for Spoken Language Understanding, which is directed by Jan van Santen, Ph.D., a mathematical psychologist in the OHSU OGI School of Science & Engineering.

 • Sum Najit Technologies Inc., founded to develop accurate and rapid diagnostic tests for smallpox and monkeypox, is based on discoveries made by Mark Slifka, Ph.D., a scientist at the OHSU Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute.

"The key to these investments is that they are made at a very early stage, even before venture capital has been sought, when companies are often most vulnerable," Dorsa said. "Springboard Project takes the next step beyond providing business services by offering business planning, development and mentoring expertise."

"Many of the services offered through the Springboard Project are the result of collaborations among OHSU, other educational institutions and business resources available right here in Portland," said Jessica Zeaske, Ph.D., TRC licensing associate.

Students enrolled in the OGI School of Science & Engineering's accredited management in science and technology program, those earning their master's of business administration at Portland State University, and those studying at Lewis & Clark School of Law will guide Springboard Project companies in developing their business plans.

The Oregon Entrepreneurs Forum (OEF) has agreed to convene specially formed panels to review Springboard Project business plans. OEF is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to providing opportunities for Oregon entrepreneurs and improving the business climate for emerging, growth-oriented companies statewide.

Once the business plans are complete, TRC staff will foster relationships between company founders and local venture capitalists.

Springboard Project companies also will have access to mentors through OGI's Center for Technology Entrepreneurship. The center, established in 2003, supports entrepreneurship in the technology sector and serves as a stimulus for job creation in the Portland area.

"The Springboard Project leverages OHSU's pools of expertise, relationships and resources in science, business management and technology transfer to support as never before the commercialization of intellectual property developed at OHSU," Dorsa said.

Through TRC, OHSU transfers discoveries resulting from its clinical, educational and research activities to companies for commercial development and, when appropriate, creates new ventures. OHSU scientists have disclosed more than 500 inventions, resulting in nearly $9 million in licensing revenues. This revenue is used to advance OHSU's teaching and research activities.

For more information about management courses at the OHSU OGI School of Science & Engineering, go to http://www.ogi.edu/MST. For more information about OEF, visit www.oef.org. Visit http://www.dwt.com/offloc/portland.htm for information about the Portland office of Davis Wright Tremaine. For more information about On-Site Financial Inc., visit http://www.onsitefinancial.com.

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