By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2015 The Oklahoma Publishing Co.
Creating a startup in bioscience is different than creating a startup in any other industry.
For starters, the research and invention can take years.
Last week I wrote about Biolytx, an Oklahoma startup that is on a track to concluding clinical testing. It’s taken three decades of devotion and effort for Dr. Anne Pereira to identify and validate a new drug for fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and the company has another few years (at least) to go with completing clinical testing and progressing through clinical trials.
Then, federal and industry self-regulation is intense whether the technology is a new device or pharmaceuticals. To bring anything to market in this industry, strategic collaboration is a must.
And that’s why Biotechnology Industry Organization International Convention (BIO International) is so strategic.
Last month BIO International hosted 15,667 industry leaders (including 2,500 CEOs) from thousands of organizations, including the world’s foremost biotechnology companies and more than 300 academic institutions and research labs.
“BIO International is really important to Oklahoma on a couple of levels,” said Josh O’Brien, director of the Entrepreneurial Development, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “Virtually everyone in the industry is there—corporations, investors, scientists, and startups. Our participation promotes the state bioscience industry as a whole. BIO International is a key opportunity to have our technology transfer offices and startups come to an international event and reach out and make connections that will help them do business.”
At BIO International 2015, Oklahoma once again had a sizable state pavilion, right along with states better known for biotech. The Oklahoma City Chamber is the primary underwriter, in collaboration with OKBIO and our state’s wider biotechnology community.
Oklahoma hosted 172 partnering meetings in our pavilion alone. Organizers give Oklahoma’s researchers, startups and other partners a stage from which to shine, and then it’s up to them to execute a plan to connect. And they did—more than 40 times each day. As BIO International says, it’s speed dating for companies at the highest levels.
The tristate region of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware may be home to 80 percent of the US biopharmaceutical industry, but that does not mean that states like Oklahoma are shut out.
We’ve had deals get finalized and startup companies find senior executives and other work partnerships. This year, more than 400 people attended our reception. That says a lot about the industry’s interest in Oklahoma.
Our progress in bioscience extends from developing companies from the research produced by our state’s key entities and then making connections across the US and beyond to help commercialize that research. We’re excited to see more Oklahoma startups and state organizations take advantage of the business opportunities that exist at BIO International.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at [email protected].
Did You Know? i2E invested more than $2.1MM in six Oklahoma bioscience companies in 2014 and $10MM over the past 15 years.