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Congressman Peter DeFazio

Representing the 4th District of OREGON

DeFazio Applauds Federal Grant for Eugene Innovator

Nov 6, 2014
Press Release

Washington, DC- Rep. Peter DeFazio is pleased to announce the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded a $100,000 grant to mAbDx Inc., an early stage Eugene-based technology firm founded by former University of Oregon science researcher, Michael Marusich, Ph.D.  The company is on the forefront of biomarker research and immunoassay development and conducting several important projects, ranging from aquaculture to cancer research. (Read more about mAbDx here.)

This grant supports efforts to provide Northwest hatchery managers real-time feedback to prevent shellfish losses and is part of a larger $18 million program NIFA awards to small businesses nationwide through its Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR). Winners are identified as having high-quality, advanced research and development that will lead to technological innovations and solutions for American agriculture.

Prior to founding mAbDx, Marusich co-founded MitoSciences, another UO spinout company and the leading developer of anti-mitochondrial antibodies, mitochondrial assays, and products and services for mitochondrial toxicity screening. MitoSciences and mabDx were incubated in the UO’s Riverfront Research Park.

“Small businesses like mAbDx Inc. are integral to developing the groundbreaking research that makes America a global academic leader and an economic powerhouse,” Rep. DeFazio said. “I am proud to support our nation’s innovators, and I’m especially proud to see this kind of work associated with the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. Our research universities play a critical role in spurring innovation.”

“We congratulate mAbDx on this well-deserved grant, which will help Dr. Marusich’s second startup company take groundbreaking discoveries from our region to the next level,” said Charles Williams, the UO’s associate vice president for innovation.

“The collaboration between Dr. Marusich and OSU on this SBIR is further evidence that the South Willamette Valley offers a robust regional community where locally developed innovations and UO spinout companies like mAbDx can succeed, contributing to the economic vitality of Oregon, the United States, and global society,” Williams added.

Housed in a private, custom-built biotechnology lab in the Lewis Integrative Science Building at the University of Oregon as part of company incubator space sponsored in part by Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI), mAbDx will conduct work on a rapid simple test to detect bacterial contamination in shellfish hatcheries.

“OSU applauds mAbDx for winning this highly competitive award from NIFA, and we are excited to continue our partnership with this company through Dr. Mark Leid in our College of Pharmacy and Dr. Claudia Hase in the College of Veterinary Medicine,” said Brian Wall, assistant vice president for research, commercialization, and industry partnerships for Oregon State University. “Through the OSU Advantage, we are allocating an additional $10,000 in support of this important work at OSU to ultimately provide Northwest hatchery managers real-time feedback to prevent shellfish losses.”

Since 1983, the SBIR program has awarded more than 2,000 research and development grants to American-owned, independently operated, for-profit businesses with 500 employees or fewer.

UO and OSU support projects at university-related start-up companies like mAbDx through the University Venture Development Fund (UVDF), a state supported program stimulating donor giving to innovation and research efforts. The Oregon Legislature will consider renewal of the UVDF during the 2015 legislative session.

 

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