DesignMedix

Portland-based biotech startup DesignMedix, originally spun out of Portland State University in 2008, developing new drugs to combat infectious diseases particularly malaria.

By early 2014, the firm had been awarded a $3 million federal grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue its work to develop a low-cost cure for drug-resistant malaria. DesignMedix shared the three-year grant with the chemistry lab of Portland State professor David Peyton, who invented the technology behind the anti-malarial drug and co-founded the company.

The drug the company is developing, DM1157, is a low-cost cure for malaria that can replace chloroquine, a frontline drug that was used for many years until rendered ineffective by drug resistance.

In March 2009, Business Oregon provided a grant of $246,000 through the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) for DesignMedix to develop nanotech formulations of the company's anti-malarial drugs. The company then successfully completed an equity funding round of $1 million and received a $1.3 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), part of the NIH, for research and preclinical studies.

DesignMedix designs and synthesizes a library of novel drugs to combat several important infectious diseases, including some that have been shown to overcome malaria drug resistance in human red blood cells in the lab, and to provide a cure when tested on animals.

The company also has identified new anti-bacterial drug candidates able to kill E. coli bacteria that cause food poisoning and Staph—Aureus bacteria that cause drug-resistant infections in hospital patients. DesignMedix's experimental drugs are more than ten-times more effective than most other drugs, lowering costs and overcoming drug resistance.