Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma City Draws National Attention in Biotech Research

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma City Draws National Attention in Biotech Research

Article excerpt

Some say the noise Oklahoma City is making in the field of biotechnology is coming in loud and clear elsewhere.

And some say it could be much louder with additional financial help.

Josh O'Brien, business development manager of bioscience at the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, said biotech has grown impressively in the last decade.

We've developed nationally in research, O'Brien said. The facilities are state of the art. We are really poised to make significant progress.

Proof of the state and city being players in biotech was found last month at BIO 2005 in Philadelphia, he said.

We had 60 people from over 20 organizations to promote the cluster (of biotech businesses), O'Brien said. It's an international meeting, and invariably, people who came to the Oklahoma area were pleasantly surprised.

Medium- to large-sized communities from coast to coast are attempting to cash in and make their cities the biotech or biopharmaceutical capital. Oklahoma City is no different, and it has some power hitters in the batter's box.

Leaders such as Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and OU Health Sciences Center have made up the bulk of the cluster of businesses in the research area on Lincoln Boulevard, just east of Interstate 235.

There's a 300-acre-plus location between the state Capitol and downtown, and they are top-rate facilities in clinical research, O'Brien said.

Biotech is having a growth spurt in the state, he said.

There are in the neighborhood of 50 companies of various sizes in Oklahoma, O'Brien said. Many companies are small starters. We are really poised to make more significant progress.

Like the industry itself, the smaller companies can take off.

As an example, go back to Novazyme Pharmaceuticals, which started as research at the OU Health Sciences Center in the 1990s, O'Brien said. It grew and was purchased by Genzyme, an internationally known company that is still in the research park.

Genzyme, which is based in New Jersey, enjoyed revenues of $2.2 billion in 2004, up from $1.6 billion in 2003.

Cytovance Biologics, another business in the Presbyterian Research Park, is the latest in a growing list of companies local officials have lured. …

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