Company: Bend Research
Headquarters: Bend, OR
Core drug delivery technology: The company focuses on controlled-release and inhalation-related tech, spray-dried dispersion (see Bend's PSD-2 spray dryer in photo at right), and also nano and other technology that helps make drugs more soluble.
Why the company, and its tech, matters: Bend first launched when improving drug delivery technology was still a relatively novel concept. But the profitable, privately held company has quietly built a business and reputation as an enterprise that can bring drug delivery tech to the major pharmaceutical companies. In short, it has helped bring drug delivery technology into the mainstream. And recently, it announced that it was expanding into the biotherapeutics business. The company helps figure out issues including formulation, dosage, and manufacturing of batches in-house for clinical trial. And in recent months it has signed or expanded deals with Eli Lilly ($LLY), Merck ($MRK), Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) and others to provide services including drug formulation, analysis, engineering and manufacturing. These deals hit home the reality that companies like Bend are key as Big Pharma and others scramble to improve or put new twists on both existing and newer treatments to give them a market edge.