Originally printed in Terra Magazine – Courtesy of Nick Houtman
A good recipe depends on high-quality ingredients. That’s as true in industry (electronics, food products, chemical manufacturing) as it is in our kitchens. So when two Willamette Valley chemists developed methods for producing industrial chemicals with exceptional purity, they saw a business opportunity. The result is a new company: Valliscor. Co-founded in 2012 by Rich G. Carter, professor and chair of the Oregon State University Department of Chemistry, and industrial chemist Michael Standen, Valliscor produces organic building blocks for the pharmaceutical, electronics and biotech sectors. Its first product is a compound known as bromofluoromethane (BFM). BFM is a critical ingredient in the synthesis of fluticasone propionate, the active component in two popular medications: Flonase, a nasal spray; and Advair, an asthma inhaler. “The company was created to exploit the synergy between industrial know-how and academic innovation,” says Carter. “Valliscor harnesses licensed technology from Oregon State and from industrial partners to provide unique and cost-effective solutions for producing high-value chemicals. We can provide ultra-high purity materials that are superior to those offered by our competitors.” Before founding Valliscor, Carter and Standen had collaborated on numerous projects over the past 10 years, including the commercialization of an “organocatalyst” called Hua Cat, an advance in environmentally friendly chemical manufacturing. The OSU Research Office and the Advantage Accelerator program have been key to the company’s growth, Carter adds. “We’ve had great mentorship and guidance from the Advantage Accelerator leadership: Mark Lieberman, John Turner and Betty Nickerson. When we get stuck on a problem, they are just a phone call away.” The Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) supported the company in 2012 with proof-of-concept funding and guidance from commercialization specialists Jay Lindquist and Michael Tippie and from Skip Rung, ONAMI executive director.