At Evergreen Bio’s inaugural Collaboration: Annual Member Meeting held in April, attendees received an update on the progress of our cluster’s initiatives and its exciting plans for next steps.
The presentation summaries and slide galleries are available for viewing below. Click on the images to zoom in. Members have access to download a PDF of the slides after log in.
The State of Your Innovation Cluster
Katrina Rogers opened the meeting with a State of the Cluster address. Her slides and a summary of her remarks are below.
Our life sciences ecosystem is small, but it’s growing
How do we foster our ecosystem? We recognize here at Evergreen Bioscience that innovation, collaboration, and growth in our regional pharma and medical device sectors are needed in order for our region’s companies to be capital efficient while they’re meeting their milestones and expanding their capacity.
While the wider northwest region has lots of assets now, our primary focus is on building out that contract service space to make this northwest region a magnet for companies that consume and provide contract services in our region. We certainly need your help with that.
Milestone Achievement: Entity Formation
With membership funds, we have filed with Washington as a Washington nonprofit corporation, and we have been granted 501c3 status from the IRS. With this official entity formation, we are in the process of thinking about how we’re going to change our business model.
In 2022, we received our initial funding from the Washington State Department of Commerce under the Innovation Cluster Accelerator program—a first-of-its-kind in-the-nation program meant to intentionally create innovation clusters in the sectors that are important to Washington state.
Changing our business model
Currently, Evergreen Bio is nearly 100% grant funded. While operations will continue to be partially funded with grant money, memberships and sponsorships will be the more sustainable revenue source. The bulk of the grant money we pursue going forward will be for projects that serve our cluster, such as our project space.
Additional Milestones and Projects to address industry needs:
- Hosting events and leaning into the existing events in our region so we can connect to others. As sponsors, we can now offer our members discounted registration to the I-90 Aerospace Corridor Conference and Expo.
- Regional Supplier Directory will be on our website soon after beta testing. If you are a member and you don’t have your website login yet, reach out through our contact form.
- We aim to use any successes as a model that we can share with others who are working in their regions to expand the life science contract service space.
Milestone Achieved: Talent Innovation Team Formed
Dr. Luis Matos of Eastern Washington University is the chair of our 21st Century Talent Innovation team. He runs EWU’s biotech program. He spoke at our meeting, and his remarks are summarized below.
The team’s goal is to develop talent pipelines at all levels in the biotech industry. As the Talent Innovation Team’s work progresses, Evergreen Bio hopes to build industry partners’ confidence in the competence and skills possessed by the job candidates in these pipelines. This will reduce employers’ training and hiring costs, increase employee retention, and offer the many other benefits that come from a strong industry talent pipeline.
Strengthening connections between academia and industry is at the core of its strategy. Dr. Matos has met with the dean at Shoreline Community College and the professors who run the successful biotech program there. It pays for itself and serves as a model for developing a pipeline of students into the biotech industry. Other institutions with models for success are Portland Community College in Oregon and Solano Community College in California. Solano offers a B.S. in Biomanufacturing and multiple focuses to enter into different niches of the biotech industry.
Additional team objectives include:
- Exploring the development of pathways for micro certifications and credentials. For example, creating more access to the curriculum and testing for the BACE credential, which was recently adopted by Washington state as a recognized qualification for entry-level biotechnician jobs.
- Building summer programs for high school students that include certification.
- Outreach to middle schools and high schools to provide curriculum, equipment, and materials for lesson plans that can be taught in existing classrooms.
- Changing the image of biotech industry jobs and their accessibility in the minds of middle and high school students and workers in other industries looking to pivot in their careers.
- Leveraging the work of members focused on creating those workforce pipelines.
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Milestone Achieved: Hub Innovation Team Formed, $200K Grant Award Won
Andy Johnston, PE, founder of Johnston Engineering has stepped up as this team’s leader and won us the first of a number of grants we will go after to build our biotech infrastructure. We were very excited to announce the receipt of a $200,000 Evergreen Manufacturing Growth Grant to start work on our Evergreen Bioscience Innovation Building (EBIB) in April. Andy gave an update on this. His slides and a summary of his remarks are below.
Among other benefits outlined in the press release about the Evergreen Grant award [link to grant press release], the EBIB will also improve Washington state’s national competitiveness in the biotech industry. It will demonstrate that this is a region where bioscience is expanding, and we are investing in our infrastructure. The EBIB is proof of that and increases the likelihood of us winning future funding, such as the CHIPs and Science Act, for our region to become a hub.
Our next step is to apply for 1-to-1 matching funds through the human capital and infrastructure grant available through the Health Sciences and Services Authority of Spokane County (HSSA), potentially another $200,000. The next milestone would be to raise $30 to $50 Million in capital to build the EBIB.
UPDATE: Inland Northwest Life Science Growth Project
Formerly known as the Life Science Capital Landscape Study. This project is a partnership with Spokane County, Evergreen Bio, HSSA, The University District in Spokane, S3R3 Solutions, and GSI. The project committee selected Cushman Wakefield earlier this year for this work. Tyler Hales, Executive Managing Director at Cushman & Wakefield, spoke at the event, and his slides and a summary of his remarks are below.
A multidisciplinary team has been selected to create a data-driven SWOT analysis through the lens of life sciences, the ecosystem, and the potential for growth in Spokane and the greater Spokane area.
The project is broken into three parts:
- Market Competitiveness Analysis
- Market and Infrastructure Analysis
- Synthesis and Final SWOT Analysis
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