By Steve Lackmeyer
Copyright © 2013, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
OrthoCare Innovations, a biotech company based at the Presbyterian Health Research Park that once aspired to become a leading prosthetics manufacturer, is set to close the operation and move its headquarters from Oklahoma City to Seattle.
The shutdown will cost eight remaining employees their jobs, all of whom are being offered job placement assistance and severance packages, Chief Executive Officer Doug McCormack said.
“Oklahoma City has been an exceptional partner in the growth of Orthocare Innovations and we give the community the highest recommendation to all of our colleagues in the bioscience sector,” McCormack said. “Recently, we were approached by a large manufacturing entity in this very competitive industry. Therefore, we have entered into a significant strategic relationship with a leading company in the orthotic and prosthetic industry.”
McCormack said details of the new manufacturing operation will be announced in 2014, but added the partnership will provide the company with unmatched manufacturing capability and global distribution. OrthoCare, meanwhile, is set to become a company focused on research operations that are currently performed by its Seattle operation.
OrthoCare Innovations’ operation in Oklahoma City dates to when the company, then based in Seattle and Washington, D.C., bought Martin Bionics in 2008. Martin Bionics at the time acted as a research and development arm for Oklahoma City-based Scott Sabolich Prosthetics and Research. McCormack was a longtime Sabolich patient.
In a 2008 column, McCormack called Oklahoma City a destination of choice for patients worldwide seeking state-of-the-art prosthetic care.
“With a modest investment, Oklahoma could become the national hub for prosthetic device development and commercialization,” McCormack said. “Domestic competition is limited, as most new developments in prosthetics come out of Europe. Today, foreign companies lead prosthetics innovation, and U.S. manufacturers typically produce generic versions of their products. OrthoCare wants to change that, and we think Oklahoma is the perfect home for our ambitious effort.”
Later that year, the Oklahoma City Redevelopment Authority and the Presbyterian Health Foundation negotiated a tax increment financing agreement intended to fund a “mobile incubator” that would accommodate predicted growth at OrthoCare’s Oklahoma City operation.
Mike Anderson, then president of the Presbyterian Health Foundation, said OrthoCare was expected to grow from 15 employees to 115 within the next two years.
“It sounds fast, but they will do it,” Anderson said. “They are that good. They have the right CEO, the right CFO and the right scientists.”
That growth never ensued and OrthoCare paid back job incentives provided by the city.
OrthoCare also received a $1.6 million grant from the state Economic Development Generating Excellence endowment and made Oklahoma City its headquarters.
McCormack, an attorney, maintained his office and residence in Washington, D.C.
A spokesman for OrthoCare said this week the headquarters will be relocated to Seattle as part of the restructuring.