Lifesaving Drug Based on OMRF Research Wins Major Industry Honor

Article excerpt

A lifesaving drug based on work done at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation recently was honored with a major pharmaceutical industry award, officials said.

The 2008 Prix Galien USA Award for Best Biotechnology Agent was given to Soliris, a drug developed by Oklahomans Russell Rother and Scott Rollins for Alexion Pharmaceuticals in Connecticut. Rollins said the honor was the equivalent of a Nobel Prize and affirms the cutting-edge research being done in Oklahoma.

He agreed with Tom Walker, president of i2e, a nonprofit Oklahoma corporation created to help develop the state's technology-based entrepreneurial economy. Walker said that although Alexion is beyond the venture capital stage of development, Soliris is a prime example of the vast potential of incubator investment at technology development agencies such as OMRF.

"It is these types of opportunities that we need to continue to incubate and provide infrastructure so they can grow in Oklahoma," Walker said. "We should bring these talented scientists, the best and brightest, back to the state to start new biotech companies."

Rollins said that's the reason he recently started up Selexys Pharmaceuticals Corp. at OMRF: "Now I'm the CEO of a new company doing the same thing again, but this time I'm trying to keep it in Oklahoma instead of losing it to Connecticut. That's part of my mission by coming home to Oklahoma after Yale, to take some of this homegrown technology and actually develop it here."

"That's what happens here far too often. There's great technology, especially here at OMRF and the Health Sciences Center, where it's world-class science. . …

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