MedMates rebrands as RI Bio, introduces membership fees

Update: This story has been updated to add more detail about the savings structure of the BIO Business Solutions Program

MEDMATES HAS REBRANDED as RI Bio and is selling memberships with new services made available through their affiliation with the international trade group Biotechnology Innovation Organization.
MEDMATES HAS REBRANDED as RI Bio and is selling memberships with new services made available through their affiliation with the international trade group Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

PROVIDENCE — Local life sciences industry network group MedMates has rebranded as RI Bio, is now the Rhode Island affiliate of Biotechnology Innovation Organization, an international biotechnology company trade association, and has introduced a paid-membership model, the group announced Tuesday.

RI Bio, which recently relocated to the New England Medical Innovation Center at 116 Chestnut St. in the Jewelry District of Providence as the building’s first tenant, was founded as MedMates in 2013. The re-branding reflects the company’s growth since then, said Carol Malysz, executive director of RI Bio.

While RI Bio remains an independent, 501C6 organization, it can now provide new services to its paid members, including access to a network of thought-leaders, advocacy and outreach services, and access to BIO Business Solutions Program, where members may save up to 75 percent with retailers such as Office Depot, and UPS. If a company spends $10-25k annually with UPS, for example their average savings would be approximately $12,000, according to the program guidelines, Malysz said

“As a member of the Council of State Bioscience Associations, RI Bio plays an integral role in our shared mission to advocate for policies that spur innovation, patient access to new medicines and good jobs in Rhode Island and across the country,” said Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

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Annual membership fees run from $25 for students and $100 for individuals to $500 for universities and $1,000 for larger companies, Malysz said.

“We made it very affordable so that people could get the return on their investment immediately,” Malysz said.

“RI Bio is an important contributor to Rhode Island’s flourishing life sciences ecosystem,” said Stefan Pryor, Rhode Island secretary of commerce. “This sector has grown significantly in recent years and we know RI Bio will continue to serve as an important catalyst within this vibrant and vital industry.”

“It’s all about growing the life sciences economy,” in the Rhode Island, Malysz said.

The organization’s new affiliation came thanks to its collaborative relationship with the Tech Collective, which offered to transfer its BIO affiliation to MedMates as the technology organization moved its focus away from life sciences, Malysz said.

“We share a bold vision for life sciences in Rhode Island,” said Patrice Milos, RI Bio board member and president and CEO of Medley Genomics. “RI Bio is perfectly positioned to lead our state’s vision of unlimited potential to unlock the next generation of treatments, discover new cures and help patients take greater control of their own health. As co-collaborators and partners in the RI Bio community, we must all collectively seize the momentum now to achieve our place as a recognized leader in life sciences.”

Coinciding with the new affiliation is the addition of Michael Elliott, currently serving as vice president, immunology scientific innovation at Johnson & Johnson Innovation, to its board of directors, the company stated. Eliott, a physician-scientist, drug developer and biotech pioneer, has led successful clinical development programs in the field of autoimmunity and served as general manager and site head for TransForm Pharmaceuticals, a former Johnson & Johnson portfolio company.

RI Bio also noted two collaborations with local organizations:

BioHub report: The Rhode Island BioHub Group finished the report in October 2018 in partnership with RI Bio. The report, commissioned by Gov. Gina R. Raimondo in 2016, outlines the potential economic impact of an integrated Life Sciences Innovation Ecosystem and growth opportunities available to developing life sciences companies in the Rhode Island market. The report will be released later this month.

Life Sciences Leadership Development Program:  Via a partnership with Leadership Rhode Island, Bryant University and the R.I. Department of Labor & Training, RI Bio will offer a training program addressing critical skills needed to grow life sciences organizations. The program will focus on change management, effective communication, conflict resolution, team building and strengths-based leadership.

Initial RI Bio companies participating the collaboration include Amgen Inc., EpiVax Inc., Rhode Island Quality Institute and Ximedica.

Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at

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