By Paula Burkes
Copyright © 2013, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
Touting a developing therapy that “will give diabetics a chance at a normal life,” Oklahoma City biotechnology entrepreneur Mike Moradi is among 50 innovators showcasing their products and services in a new component to the annual TEDMED health and medicine conference Tuesday through Friday at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Moradi, chief executive and co-founder of Sensulin LLC biopharmaceutical company, was awarded a $10,000 scholarship to be part of “The Hive,” a central area where innovators from startups, accelerators and government programs will display their creative thinking, in tandem with the conference program.
Coordinated by a Connecticut-based staff, the event is expected to draw some 2,000 multidisciplinary innovators and leaders — including Mayor Mick Cornett, a featured speaker at the conference.
Sensulin is the only Oklahoma-based company that will be participating in The Hive, conference spokeswoman Sallie Olmsted said
“The Hive is designed to foster connections between entrepreneurs in health care and technology and our attendees from larger medical and health industry organizations,” Olmsted said.
Cornett’s speech is titled “When is a Lose-Lose a Win-Win?”
“TEDMED presented an opportunity to express positive comments about what Oklahoma City is doing to improve the health and wellness of its residents,” Cornett said. “From obesity awareness campaigns like ‘This City is Going on a Diet’ to the types of infrastructure we’re building — new parks, senior wellness centers, hike-and-bike trails, and all the developments in the Boathouse District — we’re building a more walkable community that encourages a more active lifestyle.”
Telling OKC’s story
“It’s a story that we love to tell to a national audience,” Cornett said, noting the event offers an opportunity to highlight what the private sector is doing.
“Companies like Sensulin, with innovators like Mike Moradi, are doing amazing things in the biotech space. With the investment and research taking place in the health sciences sector in Oklahoma City, we are quietly becoming a world leader in health research and treatment,” Cornett said.
Moradi, 35, since 2011 has focused on Sensulin, which he said is developing a 24-hour glucose responsive insulin that would provide a patient’s entire daily insulin need via a single dose. Previously he was a founder of Norman-based SouthWest Nanotechnologies Inc., which manufactures specialty multi-wall carbon nanotubes used for commercial scale applications.
The Sensulin technology — developed by Ananth Annapragada, a researcher at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine, and Sensulin co-founder — may mimic the healthy human pancreas, Moradi said. It could eliminate the need for separate basal and prandial insulin injections, he said, and profoundly improve the standard of care for type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients.
“We intend to disrupt the $17 billion global insulin market, make glucometers and multiple injections per day obsolete, and give those with diabetes a chance at a normal life,” said Moradi, who has diabetes on both sides of his family. He anticipates clinical trials of Sensulin to begin in 24 to 36 months.
At the Texas Life Science Venture Forum last month in Houston, Sensulin was awarded the Michael E. DeBakey Life Science Award, presented to the life science company with highest potential to commercialize an important product and chosen by a panel of venture capital firms and representatives from leading pharmaceutical companies. Sensulin also brought home the Rice Alliance Most Promising Life Science Technology Award.
Worldwide, 350 million people have diabetes. The number is predicted to be 550 million by 2030. SOURCE: The International Diabetes Foundation