More than 60 scientists, business leaders, educators and economic development officers from across the state of Oklahoma took the best of Oklahoma bioscience to the 2016 BIO International Convention in San Francisco last month. The delegation spent four days promoting the accomplishments of the Oklahoma bioscience sector and meeting with potential business partners.
“The momentum for this region’s bioscience industry has truly never been stronger,” said Roy H. Williams, CCE, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “The groundbreaking research being conducted in Oklahoma City alongside the opportunities for collaboration and investment set our bioscience community apart from many locations across the nation.”
The delegation staffed the Oklahoma Bioscience Association booth and interacted with conference attendees, and the delegates informed others about the growth of Oklahoma’s bioscience sector. Oklahoma’s bioscience sector currently contributes more than $6.7 billion in economic activity and supports more than 51,000 Oklahoma jobs. The sector also produces annual revenues of more than $4.1 billion. Throughout the state, pockets of research excellence continue to develop in Oklahoma City, Ponca City, Ardmore, Stillwater and Norman.
Current research in Oklahoma’s bioscience sector
- An OMRF scientist has discovered that certain sugars produced by the body play an important role in the development of colitis and colon cancer. The new finding could potentially lead to therapies for ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and colon cancer.
- Otologic Pharmaceutics Inc. (OPI), recently entered into an exclusive license agreement with The Hough Ear Institute. Their technology is expected to be ready for human clinical trials in 2017. Noise-induced hearing loss is the single largest addressable cause of hearing loss problems. Hearing loss costs the US up to $56 billion per year in lost productivity, retraining and health care for the hard of hearing. Currently, no pharmaceutical treatments for hearing loss are available to patients. OPI has received a contract from the Naval Medical Logistics Command (NMLC) to further their research.
- Dr. Courtney Houchen and his colleagues at Oklahoma City-based COARE Biotechnology are accelerating a new technology to market that shows promise in fighting pancreatic cancer and other solid-tumor cancers. COARE Biotechnology is developing biomarker panels for the detection of oncogenic proteins and monoclonal antibodies against key stem cell signaling molecules expressed in tumor initiating cells.
- Researchers at Moleculera Labs have discovered evidence that points to a relationship between certain bacterial infections and autoimmune attacks that can disrupt normal neurologic functioning. Using a panel of biomarker tests for autoantibodies can help physicians better diagnose and treat the underlying cause of these conditions, which are often misdiagnosed and treated inappropriately with psychotropic drugs.