ONAMI Announces Entrepreneurs-in-Residence

October 17 2011

ONAMI is pleased to announce that it has hired three part-time entrepreneurs-in-residence as part of its role in the Oregon Innovation Cluster grant awarded to a team formed by the Oregon Translational Research and Drug Discovery Institute (OTRADI) , the Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST) and ONAMI by the U.S. Economic Development Administration last year:

The Oregon Innovation Cluster provides technical and business assistance to research institutions and startup companies across Oregon in order to grow high-wage jobs statewide through the commercialization of cutting-edge innovation.  EIRs are a critical part of this process, bringing years of successful executive, entrepreneurial and investment experience to young startups which must form the best possible executive teams, develop winning value propositions for target markets, and raise critical early stage capital in the current challenging environment.

In ONAMI’s case, the EIRs will be assisting university and startup company teams that are already involved in ONAMI Commercialization Gap Fund projects, and helping to source and select new projects for possible funding under the OIC program.

The three ONAMI EIRs are Augie Sick, Michael Tippie, and John Brewer.

Augie Sick operates a private consulting practice focused on start-up or early stage biotechnology companies that have a need for experienced operations management and deal expertise; providing advisory and coaching services for founders, executives and leadership teams. He is a co-founder and managing director of Cascade Prodrug, Inc. a development stage company engaged in anti-cancer therapeutics. Mr. Sick currently serves as a director of Active Motif, Inc., Floragenex, Inc., Yecuris Corporation, the Sacred Heart Medical Center Foundation and the External Advisory Committee for the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute (OCTRI).  Previously, Mr. Sick was a senior executive for Invitrogen Corporation, a career that started as the 20th employee and covered more than 18 years. In November 2008, Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems merged to form a new entity, Life Technologies, having over 9500 employees and revenues greater than $3.5B. With the change-in-control Mr. Sick retired from Life Technologies in January 2009. In 2006, he was made General Manager of Invitrogen’s $150M annual revenue Cellular Analysis Business where he grew its revenues to about $225 within 2 years. In addition to its primary research supply market, the Cellular Analysis Business provided several hundred Class I IVD products for the diagnosis of cancer and was the first business within Invitrogen to receive a Pre-Market Approval (“PMA”) from the FDA for a Class III IVD. From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Sick was the President of Molecular Probes, Inc. after being acquired for $365M by Invitrogen in August 2003. Previously, he held positions as Vice President Corporate Development and Strategy and Vice President Business Development. During his tenure at Invitrogen, he orchestrated the acquisition of 18 companies and was responsible for over 100 licensing deals. Mr. Sick began his biotechnology career in 1986 as a research associate for Mycogen Corporation, a San Diego startup where he developed many novel molecular biology methods. He is the key inventor on 34 issued US Patents. Mr. Sick received a B.A. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from the University of California San Diego.

Michael Tippie is a life science executive with six previous early stage company operational experiences.  He has worked in therapeutics (Tacora, Stressgen), diagnostics (Syva, Flash Sensor Tech), life science tools (LifeSpan BioSciences), heath care services (CN Response) and medical devices (Medical Innovation Partners).  In these companies he was a key player in an acquisition by a public company, two initial public offerings as well as numerous venture financings.  He has cut strategic alliances with most of the world’s major pharmaceutical companies, in total raising more than $100 MM in current cash.  Michael has also been a life science venture capitalist with four different venture capital firms (Norwest, Medical Innovation Partners, Milk Street Ventures, Reference Capital). Michael has degrees in Chemistry from Reed College and the University of Washington, as well as an MBA from the Sloan School at MIT.

John Brewer’s 28 years of experience in the wireless industry extend across the disciplines of engineering, marketing and executive management. He has spent the last 15 years working on products and technologies related to improving the performance and manufacture of RF power amplifiers and front ends for consumer electronics products.  John is currently a Managing Director with Vincio, a business development and advisory services firm working with private technology companies to increase industry awareness in preparation for trade sale or strategic investment.  John finished five years as Vice President, Corporate and Business Development and Vice President, Marketing with SiGe Semiconductor in June 2011, where he helped lead the company’s IPO filing and eventual sale to Skyworks Solutions. Prior to joining SiGe Semiconductor, he was CEO and President of Xindium, a company providing RF power amplifiers for next-generation mobile handsets and terminals. He has either founded or been a key early participant in seven tech startups since 1986.  John holds the bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Santa Clara University.

ONAMI’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence

Augie Sick




Michael Tippie




John Brewer



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