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WSU Economic Impact Life Sciences

Passion, energy, statewide resources drive young biotech

Sam Byrd Co-Optical
WSU alumni & Co-Optical CEO Samuel Byrd with a prototype of a glucose-monitoring device he worked with a student team to develop.

When Samual Byrd saw the daily challenges his mom faced as a recently-diagnosed diabetes patient, he wanted to do something to help her get healthy again. As a bioengineering student and entrepreneurship fellow at Washington State University, he was uniquely suited to actually take on that challenge.

And he did. » More …

Cross-state collaboration fosters student entrepreneurship

Engage student startup with prototype of their product, SafeShot
Engage student startup with prototype of their product, SafeShot

For two students who did not think much of entrepreneurship a year ago, Emily Willard and Katherine Brandenstein have been making quite a splash in Washington’s biotech startup space.

Their company – Engage – started as a senior design class assignment and evolved into a full time job that they will pursue after graduation.
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Treating muscle wasting that impacts millions

When researcher Dan Rodgers made a discovery that could slow or even reverse the muscle wasting that plagues many cancer patients, he knew he wanted to do more than publish a paper.

“I wanted to put the knowledge to good use, to see our science applied, and for cancer patients to receive an effective treatment,” said Rodgers, a muscle biology researcher at WSU. “Developing a company was the best way to move towards these goals.”

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Startup Spotlight: AVVogen

dan-rodgers

AVVogen
Researcher: Dan Rodgers, PhD
Launched: 2015

Problem: Over 70 million people suffer from muscle wasting disease, in one form or another, and this costs the health care industry over $500 billion annually, yet there are currently no viable treatments.

Solution: Actriiex, a drug that targets and blocks biochemical events initiated by myostatin and other growth inhibitory hormones that cause degeneration in muscle and the heart.

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Entrepreneurial students innovate to solve grand challenges

University faculty are not the only ones making an impact with their research – over the last few weeks WSU students have developed and been recognized for innovations that tackle grand challenges such as sustaining health around the world and developing sustainable resources. We wanted to take a moment to highlight these student teams, and demonstrate the impact that experiential education has not only on students’ development, but on their communities as well. » More …

Startup Spotlight: HEALTHSUM™

Healthsum logo

HEALTHSUM™
Researcher: John Wenz, DVM, MS
Launched: 2014

Problem: Veterinarians do not have a reliable way to track outcomes of the health management techniques used on dairy cows.

Solution: A health record database that imports and evaluates data from existing dairy management software to determine outcomes of health management. This gives the veterinarian more information about the effectiveness of treatments, and the impact of disease on cow productivity. » More …

Researcher’s love of molecules is good for society

Barbara Sorg studied functions of the brain for years before she saw the tiny nets in her microscope that made her heart skip a beat. She had been exploring different aspects of the brain to find connections between memory and addictive behaviors, and those nets were just too intriguing to leave alone. Since the 8th grade Dr. Sorg has lived for these kinds of moments – discovering something new that could increase our understanding of the world.

Barbara Sorg in her WSU Vancouver lab.
Barbara Sorg in her WSU Vancouver lab.

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Seattle Industry Events Advance Commercialization Efforts

WSU researcher presents startup company at NIH SBIR/STTR Conference.
WSU researcher presents startup company at NIH SBIR/STTR Conference.

In October, Washington hosted the National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Conference. Washington’s thriving health care innovation sector made this conference a natural fit for Seattle, and a great opportunity for WSU researchers who want to move life-changing innovations into the marketplace. » More …

Emerging technologies on display at NIH SBIR/STTR Conference

Smart Shirt
An illustration that demonstrates the possibilities of wearable health monitoring sensors being developed at WSU.

For the first time, Washington is hosting the National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Conference. Washington’s thriving health care innovation sector makes this conference a natural fit for Seattle, and great opportunity for the small businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers working to get life-changing innovations into the marketplace.

Recognizing NIH SBIR/STTR’s crucial role in translating promising technologies to the private sector, WSU is proud to be a sponsor of this event. Sustaining health and improving quality of life are key goals of the Grand Challenges, complex societal problems that the University’s research strengths are particularly well suited to help solve. » More …