By Jim Stafford
Copyright © 2014, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
Almost 10 years ago I stepped into a conference room at Oklahoma City’s Cox Center and found myself in a new world. It was a conference called BioLife presented by i2E Inc.
As a newspaper reporter, then new to the bioscience beat, the BioLife conference lifted a curtain for me. I met scientists and entrepreneurs who would become valued sources and remain so today. I heard presentations that sparked my interest in how companies start from scratch and grow into multimillion dollar corporations, and how a new drug is developed in the lab.
A similar learning opportunity presents itself on March 26, when the Oklahoma Biosciences Association presents the 2014 BioSummit and BioScience Awards Dinner at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel.
This time the emphasis will be on the fundamentals of obtaining funding for your new bioscience technology, positioning for investment and the key elements of making your technology attract investors in the industry.
The BioSummit will kick off with a session on what type of funding is available in the state, what angel investors want to see, investment terminology and term sheets, and how to find and receive private philanthropic funding.
Presenting the opening session will be Scott Meacham, president and CEO of i2E Inc.; Dr. William Paiva, manager of the Oklahoma Life Science Fund, and Von Allen, director of development for the University of Oklahoma’s Stephenson Cancer Center.
After a networking luncheon, there will be a panel discussion on the importance of partnerships and exit strategies featuring Doug Branch, a patent attorney and director at PhillipsMurrah law firm; Clayton Duncan, CEO at Accele BioPharma; and Dennis Schafer, president and CEO at Altheus Therapeutics.
“We’re pleased to be able to present a funding primer from a wide range of industry perspectives, both as investors and entrepreneurs,” said Meacham, who is also president and CEO of the Oklahoma Bioscience Association.
“The BioSummit will be a great learning opportunity for anyone working to advance a new therapy or a bioscience startup,” Meacham said.
William Hagstrom, president and CEO of San Francisco-based Crescendo Bioscience Inc., will lead a session on “Keys to Success in Building a Biotech Business.” A serial entrepreneur who led multiple companies here in Oklahoma, Hagstrom recently celebrated the closing of the $270 million acquisition of Crescendo by Myriad Genetics Inc. of Salt Lake City.
Crescendo, you might recall, was launched as an Oklahoma City-based company based on technology developed by Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Dr. Michael Centola.
The final session will be led by Elaine Hamm, i2E venture adviser and director of the Oklahoma Proof of Concept Center; and Vikas Sharma, director of business development for Rexahn Pharmaceuticals. They will lead a discussion on strategies for attracting industry partners to a new technology.
The BioSummit will serve as a prelude for the 2014 Oklahoma BioScience Awards Dinner that evening, which begins with a reception at 5 p.m. The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber will be honored with the Hall of Fame Leadership Award, and individuals or companies will be recognized in categories of researcher, innovation and community recognition awards.
For me, the 2014 BioSummit demonstrates just how far Oklahoma has come in a decade under the leadership of groups dedicated to building the bioscience sector in Oklahoma, such as the Oklahoma BioScience Association with the assistance of key partners such as the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. I met many of these scientists 10 years ago. Now, some are involved with mature companies that have developed therapeutics benefiting millions of people. Others are discovering the next generation of promising drugs.
I look forward to seeing them all again.
About the Oklahoma Bioscience Association: The mission of the Oklahoma Bioscience Association is to promote the growth of biosciences in Oklahoma through partnership building, education and outreach, networking, policy development and publicity. It is supported by 32 organizations from across the state.
Jim Stafford is Communications Specialist with i2E Inc. in Oklahoma City.