OSU Spinouts Outset Medical and Agility Robotics Make Breakthroughs

Oregon State Spinouts  

Two Oregon State University spinouts have made significant progress this week: medical technology company Outset Medical has raised $278 million in its initial public offering and is the first OSU spinout to go public, and robotics company Agility Robotics has raised $20 million in new investment. 

Outset Medical 

Outset Medical, described as a company “reimagining dialysis for patients and healthcare providers,” was founded in 2003 as Home Dialysis Plus and then secured an option to OSU intellectual property in 2004. In 2008, the deal was changed to a full IP license, and $300 million in private investments were obtained between 2010 and 2018. 

Outset is the creator of a product called Tablo, a dialysis machine that simplifies and refines the dialysis process. 

It’s essentially a small-scale, efficient, water purification technology that would allow the use of tap water in dialysis as opposed to gallons and gallons of pre-purified water, expanding capabilities in developing countries,” Associate Vice President of Research, Innovation, and Economic Impact for OSU, Brian Wall, told OSU Newsroom. “Outset is a terrific example of the kind of company OSU is proud to partner with, one that improves peoples’ lives while driving the creation of jobs, truly maximizing our impact.” 

The company is continuing to work with Oregon State on the refinement of their technology. 

Agility Robotics 

Agility Robotics, a company launched at the university which, according to OSU Newsroom, “designs and builds legged robots to operate in human spaces,” has gained a total of $29 million in funding since it was founded in 2015. 

Walking robots such as the ones Agility Robotics has created will someday be considered normal, said Jonathan Hurst, Agility co-founder, Chief Technical Officer, and professor of robotics at Oregon State, according to OSU Newsroom. However, scientists have had trouble understanding the science of legged locomotion for robots.  

Oregon State University, though, has made breakthroughs in this field. A research robot created at the Dynamic Laboratory at OSU, called ATRIAS, was the first to imitate human walking gait dynamics. After ATRIAS came Cassie, the first robotics device for research and development to be capable of walking and running, and then the humanoid robot Digit was developed.  

Digit can handle both indoor and outdoor terrains, allowing it to go wherever humans go. 

Digit can perform a range of different jobs because so many tasks have been designed to be performed by a human form,” Hurst told OSU Newsroom. “We’re excited to work with investors who understand our unique approach to legged locomotion, see the promise and share our vision of robots that work in human spaces with stairs, curbs, hallways and uneven surfaces.” 

 “We look forward to accelerating the development and deployment of humanoid robots across industries to automate some of the jobs that must be done in spaces designed for humans.”  

By Cara Nixon