Bend Research Serves as Cornerstone of Tech Community

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For almost four decades, Bend-based Bend Research has been a leader in drug delivery technologies and formulation development, and the cornerstone of Central Oregon’s technological community. Known world-wide for their bioavailability enhancements of low-solubility compounds, Bend Research conducts both research and manufacturing at their north Bend facility.

Their capabilities include formulation science, dosage form development, process development and engineering, current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) manufacturing, bioprocessing and biotherapeutics and analytical sciences. Anchoring their technological advancements are solubility enhancement, modified release and inhalation designs.

For their efforts in the field of pharmaceutical science, Bend Research was acquired by global powerhouse Capsugel Dosage Form Solutions in September 2013. By joining the Capsugel family of companies, Bend Research has established a global presence with partnerships throughout Europe. More importantly to Central Oregon, they are currently in an intense growing phase in both their manufacturing facility and workforce.

“The opportunity with Capsugel is all about growth and our ability to expand into new areas,” says Tanya Hayden, vice president and director of clinical and commercial manufacturing. “The acquisition’s plan has come to fruition.”

Bend Research was founded in 1975 by Harry Lonsdale and Richard Baker as a membrane technology research company. By the mid-1980s, Chris Babcock joined the company as they moved toward pharmaceutical technology. Once Rod Ray, current CEO and chair of the board, joined the team, Bend Research’s path was set. Through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, they obtained government grants and contracts based on synthetic membrane usage. Their innovative technological advancements helped develop a wastewater recycling system for NASA’s space station, a system to recycle industrial wastes from manufacturing processes and other notable projects.

By the end of the century, Bend Research was working exclusively for the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to develop new drug delivery technologies. By 2008, Bend Research moved to a non-exclusive agreement with Pfizer and began growing their client list to over 100. They have manufactured hundreds of formulations under the FDA’s stringent cGMP guidelines. For their hard work and leadership in Central Oregon’s high-tech industry, Bend Research was recognized as Distinguished Large Business of the Year in both 2011 and 2013.

Bend Research’s physical expansion can be seen east of the parkway as they add 6000 square feet to their cGMP manufacturing facility. The $20 million construction project off Empire Avenue looks to be completed by April 2015 with usage beginning by third quarter. The facility currently specializes in solid oral dosage‐form manufacturing, but will add spray-dried dispersion technology, which helps increase the bioavailability of compounds with low solubility.

Alongside the growth in their facility comes a hiring plan to support the expansion growth. Bend Research is currently hiring in all areas of their research and manufacturing divisions. The hiring, driven by demand, means Bend Research will be able to engage in new technologies. In addition, they will be able to research more options and solutions, which means getting new medicines to the market quicker.

“We have been able to recommit to research,” explains Hayden. “We are excited about investing ourselves into the new technologies.”

While Bend Research isn’t a technology vendor, they do work to solve problems and create solutions for their clients. They are very proud of their problem-solving of new medicines and addressing therapeutic areas in new ways. The company is currently experiencing an increased focus on internal development. This is leading to upgrades in their fabrication facility, specifically in the areas of polymer science (capsules) and inhalation medicines.

In addition to working towards providing better medicines, Bend Research has a long history of committing themselves to community outreach. They are the primary supporter of the Bend Science Station and work in local classrooms to further STEM initiatives, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. They also donate laboratory equipment to area school and offer tours of their facilities.

“Our primary focus for the community lies in children science education,” says Hayden, who graduated from Mountain View High School. “A lot of us grew up in the area and are passionate about giving back to the community.”

Perhaps their greatest contribution to students comes in their Inventerprise Science Contest Challenge. Now in its 23rd year, Inventerprise promotes science education and enriches students’ educational experience. Last year, more than 1,350 students competed and 180 awards were handed out. This year, Inventerprise addresses the nutritional needs of the earth’s people by asking students to invent a new way to supply food to the world.

Bend Research also has active partnerships with Saving Grace, Volunteers in Medicine, the Education Foundation, the Deschutes County Library, Healing Reins and Deschutes Children’s Foundation.

Bend Research

Location: 64550 Research Road, Bend, OR 97701

Phone and website: 541-382-4100, www.bendresearch.com

CEO: Rod Ray

Number of Employees: 250

Year Established: 1975

Services: Drug delivery technologies and formulation development.

Hot News: Acquisition by Capsugel has allowed for global growth.

Outlook for the Future: Currently expanding manufacturing facility and workforce.

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Bend-based freelance writer Gregg Morris honed his wit in suburban Michigan and his gift for the written word at Michigan State University. When not writing, Gregg can be found riding his bike, earning his turns, or playing guitar alongside his wife and daughter.

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