I traveled 1,600 miles to meet my neighbor
By Jim Stafford
Copyright © 2016, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
The running joke each year at the BIO convention is just how far everyone in the OKBio contingent has to travel to get to know their fellow Oklahomans.
This year, Gregory Wilson, assistant vice president in the office of Research and Sponsored Programs at the University of Central Oklahoma, was among those getting to know their Oklahoman biotechnology industry neighbors at the BIO show.
Wilson said he relished the opportunity to meet biotech innovators from Oklahoma and from across the globe.
“It’s really neat to see the diversity of companies around the world here, and for Oklahoma to be part of that is really exciting,” Wilson said. “We’re getting our name out to showcase all the great stuff that is occurring in the state. It’s been very enjoyable not only to meet individuals from Oklahoma but to meet others from around the world.”
Also attending the show as a first-time member of the Oklahoma delegation was Mohan Purushothaman, a New Jersey resident who happens to be president of an Oklahoma startup called Progentec Diagnostics Inc.
Progentec is developing a diagnostic test for lupus based on technology that emerged from the laboratories of OMRF scientists Judith James, M.D., and Melissa Munroe, M.D. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that afflicts about 400,000 Americans.
“Lupus hasn’t got a lot of attention, but it affects young women,” Purushothaman said. “Your body starts to attack your own cells. Typically, they get some type of a rash on their face, and then their organs start to get affected very badly. About 30 percent have kidney damage.”
Purushothaman met with potential investors in San Francisco as he works to raise matching capital for investment from i2E Inc. Funding will support a study of the company’s technology.
“We have a very strong proof of concept,” he said. “So, now we need to do two more studies, which are of a larger scale. We plan to set up a lab in Oklahoma City for lupus patients.”
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