i&E Bio Edition 2022

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Funding keeps vision research on track at Dean McGee Eye Institute


Collaboration designed to advance therapeutic to reverse hearing loss


Echo Capital seeks to connect portfolio firms with OKC biomanufacturing capabilities


OSU leads project to aid plant pathogen researchers

Oseberg, Otologic Pharmaceutics and Linear Health Sciences are just a handful of homegrown Oklahoma City startups who are making national headlines. No matter if it is tech, bioscience, aviation, energy or everything in between, the entrepreneurial climate here is breeding big success. We want to help ensure startup success for you in OKC. Whether you are trying to raise capital, are interested in potential incentive offerings or our entrepreneurship resources, let us be your gateway to OKC’s burgeoning startup scene.

GREATEROKLAHOMACITY.COM | Greater Oklahoma City Partnership 123 Park Ave., Oklahoma City, OK (405) 297-8990 | econdev@okcchamber.com



WHAT'S INSIDE 6 Promising discoveries emerge from Oklahoma Startups 7 Paldara Pharmaceuticals 7 Excitant Therapeutics 8 Bpendo 9 Linear Health Sciences 10 Reversing hearing loss 12 Investing in breakthrough technologies 14 Times are changing … fast 16 Screening for clinical trial candidates 18 Repository designed for plant pathogen research 20 Driving research to preserve and restore vision 22 Elevating Oklahoma’s bioscience industry 24 Making the difficult diagnosis 26 Expanding targets for HLA peptides

innovators & Entrepreneurs is produced by i2E, Inc., manager of the Oklahoma Technology Commercialization Center. For more information on any content contained herein, please contact i2E at 405.235.2305 © Copyright 2022 i2E, Inc. All rights reserved.

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OKBio SPONSORS Sustaining Sponsors ECHO Investment Capital Greater Oklahoma City Chamber i2E, Inc. Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Oklahoma State University Presbyterian Health Foundation University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Supporting Sponsors OG&E Dean McGee Eye Institute GRAIL Oklahoma Blood Institute Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology Pure MHC, LLC Corporate Sponsors ARL Bio Pharma Ascend BioVentures Avara Pharmaceuticals Charlesson/EyeCRO Crowe & Dunlevy Cytovance Biologics DNA Solutions Doerner, Saunders, Daniel & Anderson LLP Environmental Services Co, Inc Excitant Therapeutics Immuno-Mycologics, Inc. Life Science Compliance Consulting, LLC Linear Health Sciences Moleculera Labs Namida Labs Paldara Pharmaceuticals Scissortail Labs Sensulin SIEV Technologies Solid Tech Animal Health Steep Hill Oklahoma/Elite Element Testing Tetherex Pharmaceuticals Weaver Labs Wheeler BIO

Rick Rainey Senior Venture Advisor

Justin McLaughlin Tulsa Regional Chamber

Malachi Blankenship Venture Advisor & Director, Business Development

Mark Nance American Fidelity Corporation

Meredith Wilkerson, Ph.D. Life Sciences Venture Advisor & OKBio Director Srijita (Dia) Ghosh Venture Advisor Darcy Wilborn Director of Client Engagement & Entrepreneurial Programs Taleya Mayberry Program Manager, ACT Tulsa Katelynn Henderson Event Specialist Marla O'Fallon Operations Coordinator Gerda Elpedes Staff Accountant Jennie Brandon Executive Assistant & Corporate Secretary

David Pitts Simmons Bank Ryan Posey HSI Sensing Meg Salyer Broadway Realty Claudia San Pedro Sonic Corporation Darryl Schmidt BancFirst Craig Shimasaki Moleculera Labs, Inc. Robert Thomas George Kaiser Family Foundation Rose Washington TEDC Roy Williams Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Duane Wilson LDW Services, LLC

i2E BOARD OF DIREC TORS Mark Poole Chairman BancFirst Vinita Brad Krieger Vice Chair Arvest Bank Michael LaBrie Secretary McAfee & Taft Howard G. Barnett, Jr. The Barnett Family Law Firm

PARTNERS The Oklahoma Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Chickasaw Nation Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Love’s Travel Stops

Michael Basch Oklahoma Business Roundtable Atento Capital Oklahoma Center for the Advancement Leslie Batchelor of Science and Technology (OCAST) Center for Economic Development Law

Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance

Michael Carolina Presbyterian Health Foundation OCAST i2E TE AM

Steve Cropper

The i2E management and staff is composed of professionals with extensive experience in technology commercialization, business development, venture investing, and finance.

Phil Eller Eller Detrich, P.C.

Carl Edwards Price Edwards & Company

Tom Evans Encompass Financial Services, Inc.

Scott Meacham Chris Fleming CEO REHCO, LLC Rex Smitherman President

Danny Hilliard Chickasaw Nation

Sarah Seagraves Senior Vice President, Marketing

Philip Kurtz

Mark Lauinger Senior Vice President, Client Services Judy Beech, CPA Vice President of Finance

Hershel Lamirand III Capital Development Strategies Devon Laney 36 Degrees North

www.i2E.org facebook.com/i2E facebook.com/lovescup twitter.com/i2E_Inc


Welcome from Scott Meacham

For innovators and entrepreneurs, i2E helps build, launch, and grow great ideas. i2E is uniquely positioned as Oklahoma’s most experienced, trusted, and proven organization of its kind. Over our 24- year history, i2E has provided business expertise and funding to more than 750 of Oklahoma’s emerging small businesses. With more than $101 million of investment capital under management, we are focused on serving companies in all phases of the business life cycle, from startups looking for their first round of capital to established businesses seeking funding to expand their markets or products. We also help lead new business developments into the marketplace more efficiently and more quickly while providing guidance to bring more funding to Oklahoma’s researchers and entrepreneurs. Through our proven business and venture development process, we turn ideas into successful enterprises…i2E.

W H AT W E D O • Evaluate the market potential of new concepts • Assist with evaluation of business plans, marketing plans and raising capital • Provide guidance in building a management team, business structure and financial forecasting • Assist with the developing an effective investor presentation • Assist in obtaining funding through federal grant programs • Work with research universities to encourage commercialization of research technologies • Provide equity investment

Welcome to the annual BIO edition of i&E magazine, which highlights the latest bioscience and life sciences discoveries emerging in Oklahoma. I encourage you to spend some time browsing through these pages and discovering just how vibrant the life sciences industry is in our state. Over the past few years, Oklahoma scientists have developed therapeutics and diagnostics for a wide range of diseases, from new approaches to identify and target cancerous tumors to wound care to preventing disconnects of IV catheters to helping physicians visualize the colon during colonoscopy procedures. You will learn about all of those efforts, as well as ongoing research leading to potential treatments for devastating vision loss, reversing loss of hearing, preventing hospital-acquired infections and more. Here are some highlights of what you will find in this magazine: • Take a dive into i2E’s life science investments and several emerging bioscience companies, starting on page 6. • Learn why Oklahoma City’s Echo Investment Capital invests in often overlooked Midwestern innovation across a number of industries, including life sciences, “to build a better, bolder future for our community and the world.” Page 12. • An Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist has created a screening process that predicts the progression of osteoarthritis in patients, providing a more promising population for clinical trials of future therapeutics to control the disease. Page 16. • Oklahoma State University recently received a $1 million grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to develop a database that houses information designed to aid researchers developing tools to protect plants from pathogens that threaten our food supply. Page 18. • Dean McGee Eye Institute and the OU Health Sciences Center received almost $3 million in a grant renewal from the National Eye Institute that supports the work of researchers in 19 laboratories who are pursuing new discoveries and innovations that ultimately will preserve and restore vision of millions of people. Page 20. • At the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, researchers have produced a number of spinout companies that have partnered with the pharmaceutical industry, as well as ventures that are advancing novel therapeutics beyond the laboratory and into the marketplace. Page 22. Life science research is thriving across Oklahoma, and I am confident this magazine offers a glimpse of how our scientific community is working to make a difference in the lives of millions worldwide. Enjoy. – Scott Meacham CEO



Investments led by i2E, keep groundbreaking medical technologies on track to benefit patients worldwide


or the past 24 years, i2E, Inc. and its investment arm, Plains Ventures, has played a major role in funding Oklahoma researchers and entrepreneurs by investing more than $35 million in Oklahoma bioscience companies that are developing new therapeutics, developing new medical devices, developing new diagnostic tools or providing support technologies for the bioscience industry and industry research and development. i2E’s portfolio companies are working to advance medical technologies that prevent hospital acquired infections, help physicians visualize colonoscopy procedures more clearly, protect against accidental catheter disconnection, provide pain-free therapeutics that combat eye disease, reverse hearing loss and much more. Even as these new technologies edge closer to bringing their life changing outcomes to patients around the world, other promising discoveries continue to emerge from Oklahoma laboratories. Millions of dollars will be required to advance them to the market. In Oklahoma, life science entrepreneurs will continue to turn to i2E for the critical seed funding needed to survive the initial stages of development. In the past 2 years, i2E Inc. has invested nearly $7 million in 8 bioscience or life science companies. The following is a look at some of the bioscience companies that i2E investments have supported over the years. All these diverse medical technologies share a common bond. i2E, Inc., led early investment rounds that provided critical funding ensuring the companies created to advance the new drugs and medical devices have the capital necessary to successfully negotiate the development and testing phase.




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INFECTION FIGHTER PALDARA, INC., LAUNCHED IN 2019 WITH A CONCEPT Team Paldara celebrates 1st place built around an innovative hydrogel technology that prevents win in the Love’s catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Cup competition But the vision of the founders for their groundbreaking technology was much broader than a single device. “We’re developing a platform technology to prevent medical device infections in the hospital and other health care venues,” said Beau Blanchard, a Paldara co-founder along with William Colton, who developed the gel while a student at Oklahoma State University. The technology was developed in a laboratory the cofounders outfitted with money won through i2E’s Love’s Cup Competition, along with that raised through OSU’s Riata Pre-Seed Fund and was subsequently matched by an OCAST Technology Business Finance Program (TBFP) concept award through i2E. Colton’s innovation lubricates catheters with a patent pending antimicrobial hydrogel coating. That makes it easier to insert the device while destroying disease-causing bacteria and potentially up to 99 percent of infections that plague hospital catheter use. “Since hospitals absorb all costs associated with hospital acquired infections, preventing a single catheter-associated urinary infections could save hospitals an BEING AN OKLAHOMA average of $10,000 per patient,” Blanchard C-CORP HAS HELPED said. “We aim to serve throughout the care US KEEP COSTS continuum such as hospitals, nursing homes, LOW WHILE WE and home-health care organizations.” HAVE FOCUSED ON Next stop on the development DEVELOPING AN timeline for Paldara is preparation to seek INNOVATIVE PRODUCT FDA approval for their patent-pending FOR A WORLD-WIDE technology. ISSUE. WE HAVE BEEN The co-founders are preparing for a preTRULY BLESSED TO consultation meeting with the FDA to gain RECEIVE SUPPORT insight on a roadmap through the regulatory FROM OKLAHOMA approval process. STATE UNIVERSITY “We have been advised by several AND I2E, AND regulatory consultants who have spent time WOULD NOT BE HERE reviewing 510k applications at the Center WITHOUT OKLAHOMA for Devices and Radiological Health that our INVESTING IN ITS product should receive expedited approval ENTREPRENEURS and that we may be able to market our product in the next 2-3 years,” Blanchard said. Before the pair launched their venture to advance Colton’s innovation, they teamed with another OSU student to write a business plan around the concept and pitch it in the 2019 Love’s Entrepreneur’s Cup, which is managed by i2E. Paldara won first place and $20,000 in the High Growth Graduate division. Paldara also scored well in other major business plan competitions, including Rice University, Baylor University and Arizona State University. “The Love’s Cup experience provided critical external feedback and $20,000 to launch Paldara from concept to minimal viable product,” Blanchard said. “ “Over the last three years, we have been advised by David Thomison a George Kaiser Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship and prior Venture Advisor at i2E,” he said. “The team has also been advised by Dr. Carol Curtis and i2E

Venture Advisor Rick Rainey, who have helped us validate our company and prepare for a successful fundraise. Based on their incredible support, Paldara is now raising $1 million through a convertible note offering led by i2E.” After the Love’s Cup competition, the company received an OCAST Technology Business Finance Program (TBFP) concept award through i2E. Blanchard said the company used the TBFP award to purchase critical laboratory equipment.

Paldara’s founding as an Oklahoma-based venture has benefitted the company’s development through a supportive startup ecosystem that includes i2E and its partners in what is known as the Oklahoma Innovation Model. “Being an Oklahoma C-Corp has helped us keep costs low while we have focused on developing an innovative product for a world-wide issue,” Blanchard said. “We have been truly blessed to receive support from Oklahoma State University and i2E, and would not be here without Oklahoma investing in its entrepreneurs” They are steadily advancing their technology toward their first market and the problem of catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Paldara has developed a platform technology, and there are many more markets to address. “We have received interest from cardiac surgeons to prevent deep sternal wound infections, infections from inserting pacemakers, bone screws, central venous catheters, hip/knee replacements, etc.,” Blanchard said. Paldara, Inc. has the potential to prevent serious, lifethreatening infections in millions of patients worldwide, all from the determination of two college students who believed enough in their idea to raise external capital and start their own private research and development laboratory.


EXCITANT POTENTIAL OKLAHOMA CITY-BASED EXCITANT THERAPEUTICS is a pre-clinical stage pharmaceutical company working to develop an oral medication to treat two major vision conditions that often lead to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration threaten the vision of millions of people. However, current state-of-the-art treatments involve once-a-month invasive eye injections. “That imposes a high treatment burden on patents, BIO Edition 2022



and up to 40 percent may not respond well,” said Henry Shin, Ph.D., Excitant’s CEO and co-founder of the company along with Jian-xing “Jay” Ma, MD/PhD, and Adam Duerfeldt, Ph.D. “With our technology, we are developing a first-in-class orally available drug for diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, with differentiated disease modification profiles, to alleviate the treatment burden associated with the current standard of care,” Dr. Shin said. The compound Excitant is using to tackle vision damage was discovered in the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center laboratory of Dr. Ma, a renowned vision researcher. It was redesigned and improved in Dr. Duerfeldt’s laboratory through a research collaboration. Dr. Shin was a graduate student and post-doctoral fellow in Glow-in-the-dark Dr. Ma’s lab, while Dr. Duerfeldt was protein called a medicinal chemist on OU’s Norman luciferase. Image Credit: Creative campus. “Dr. Ma spent 20-plus years Commons License 2.0 Credit: Oregon investigating diabetic retinopathy, State University. Flickr and the work that culminated in the formation of Excitant revolves around his collaboration with Dr. Duerfeldt, who is now at the University of Minnesota,” Dr. Shin Henry Shin, Ph.D. said. “The collaboration focused on designing and synthesizing new Jian-xing “Jay” Ma chemical entities that selectively activate a protein called PPAR-alpha Adam Duerfeldt, Ph.D. (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha), which when activated decreases symptoms of diabetic retinopathy.” OU funding supported research by the trio as they sought a compound that showed potential to treat the condition. “We based our scientific approach on two large clinical trials that tested a drug therapy intended to reduce cardiovascular Dr. Robert Holbrook events in Type II diabetic patients,” Dr. Shin said. “The therapy wasn’t so successful for cardio, but there was a robust effect on diabetic retinopathy instead.” They founded Excitant in 2019 to translate their discoveries. Excitant has since received approximately $1 million Small Business Innovative Research grants from the National Eye Institute, which Dr. Shin described as “validation” of their science by peer reviewers. “It also enabled us to identify and develop a promising small molecule that shows therapeutic effects in rodent models of diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration,” Dr. Shin said. As CEO of a life sciences startup, Dr. Shin not only conducts high level research, but stays current on scientific literature and Insufflation learning about other scientific disciplines that would be helpful Retention Device as the company’s R&D needs evolve. (IRD) “Our tentative plan is to reach Investigational New Drug approval from the Food and Drug administration within the next The IRD is an three years,” he said. add-on device, So, how does the name “Excitant Therapeutics” fit a company intended to make that is immersed in R&D for compounds to prevent vision loss for colonoscopies safer millions of people worldwide – without requiring eye injections. and more efficient. 8


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The term “Excitant” was adopted from the scientific research process and substances that elicit active physiological or behavioral responses, Shin said. The founding scientists used cell-based assays to screen hundreds of newly synthesized compounds. “This assay uses a light-producing enzyme called luciferase, and it generates bioluminescense when provided the right stimulus,” he said. “We imagined this process as a tiny celebration, because we’ve found a molecule that “excites” the cells. As a result, we named our company Excitant Therapeutics.” Now that’s something to get Excitant about. Excithera.com

A LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT Of the more than 20 million colonoscopy procedures done in this country annually, roughly 20 percent of them are disrupted by a common obstacle: the patient’s colon can’t retain air. Why is that a problem? During a colonoscopy, physicians insert a device known as an endoscope – a tiny camera and a long, flexible tubular instrument that transmits an image of the lining of the colon – into the large intestine through the patient’s rectum. But the colon must be inflated for doctors to navigate and look for potential problems like polyps. “It becomes important to the physicians when they need to do something – they’ve identified a polyp or there is some bleeding -- and if we can’t see what we are doing that creates more problems, said Dr. Robert Holbrook, a Norman-based gastroenterologist and inventor. Dr. Holbrook founded a company in 2017 called BPEndo to advance a patented plug device he invented to solve the lack-ofinflation problem that often challenges physicians during the colonoscopy procedure. When the colon won’t inflate, nurses and technicians are called in to assist the physician in manually holding the patient’s body to keep air from escaping. “When we do that, it takes that person essentially out of the room,” Dr. Holbrook said. “They can’t do their normal tasks because they are trying to help us simply visualize the colon, which is normally pretty

easy to do. But when they have this problem, they can be quite difficult.” The two-piece device consists of a plastic handle that remains outside of the body and a balloon that is placed inside the body cavity. The handle snaps over the colonscope so that it doesn’t have to be removed from the body and reinserted. The intellectual property is protected by two “very broad” patents. “The technology BPEndo is developing solves a critical problem physicians face when performing colonoscopies,” said i2E Venture Advisor Rick Rainey, who has worked closely with Dr. Holbrook along his entrepreneurial journey. “New medical products like this tend to have favorable partnering or acquisition events with large manufacturers looking to bolster their current product offerings,” Rainey said. BPEndo’s technology appears so promising that the company attracted 13 gastroenterologists as early investors. Both of Dr. Holbrook’s physician partners at Norman Endoscopy Center are investors. “They know there is a problem, and this may be a good solution,” Dr. Holbrook said. “It’s been really well received.” In addition to investment by medical professionals, BPEndo received a $1.2 million seed round investment in 2019 that was led by i2E. As the device nears FDA approval, Dr. Holbrook anticipates another investment round that will facilitate manufacturing and sales. He continues to work closely with Rainey and his i2E colleagues. “i2E took a lead role in structuring the initial deal and valuation, discussing with me dilution and what my part would be, things like that,” Dr. Holbrook said. “I really relied heavily on their expertise and legal expertise to walk me through this whole process.” With expected FDA approval looming, there is anticipation of big things ahead for BPEndo and its founder. “If you just do the simple math, that’s at least 2 million colonoscopies that will need this device,” Dr. Holbrook said. “I’m excited about the future.” BPEndo.org

LINEAR HEALTH SCIENCES DEVICE SECURES FDA CLEARANCE Oklahoma City-based Linear Health Sciences has received U.S. FDA clearance and Health Canada approval of its Orchid SRV™, a tension-activated breakaway safety release valve designed to reduce the risk of IV catheter failure and replacement in hospitals. The medical device company also announced the simultaneous launch of Orchid SRV Type D, a Class I device based on the same proprietary platform technology for use in surgical/wound, nephrostomy, and abscess drainage. The Orchid SRV is a sterile, single-use connector for needlefree access that, when activated, makes return to treatment fast, simple, and clean, while improving both the patient and clinician experience. Clinical simulation testing of 360 Orchid SRVs showed that the device prevented IV dislodgement by 91.1 percent across all test groups. The Orchid SRV is indicated

Dr. Ryan Dennis

for use during direct injection, intermittent infusion, and continuous infusion. “We designed Orchid SRV to disrupt an area of medicine long overlooked and due for positive change,” said Dr. Ryan Dennis, Linear Health Sciences co-founder and CEO. “We expect our current and future pipeline of platform technology-based products to help change the standard of practice in vascular access and medical tubing applications as a whole.” Orchid SRV is placed between the existing IV extension set and general IV tubing connection intended to be used for delivery of fluids to and from an IV catheter. When tension (of up to 3.25 lbs.) acts on the IV line, the valve separates and seals off both sides of the IV, creating a sterile barrier. The clinician then restores the line simply by removing the separated halves and replacing them with a new, pre-packaged, sterile valve. According to a study published in J-AVA, 95 percent of 1,561 U.S. clinicians surveyed agreed that IV dislodgements continue to pose significant safety risks for patients and hospitals. In fact, reports have shown that, of the 342 million peripheral IVs in the U.S. each year1, up to 10 percent may dislodge2, costing more than $2 billion annually3. Dislodgement is most frequently caused by patient confusion or removal of the catheter, loose dressing or tape, or tubing becoming tangled in bed linens. “Despite great advances in other areas of medicine, there is still a significant unmet need for improved safety in IV therapy,” said Nancy Moureau, PhD, RN, CRNI, CPUI, VA-BC, an internationally recognized expert in vascular access practice who conducted the survey. “With an estimated 90 percent of hospitalized patients requiring treatment using IV therapy and a need to maintain those devices, it is time for a product like the Orchid SRV, not only to increase patient and staff safety but also to reduce cost associated with accidental dislodgment.” “The power of our breakaway safety release valve technology platform has been demonstrated and is now validated by both the FDA’s and Health Canada’s clearance of the Orchid SRV,” said Dan Clark, co-founder, president, and COO of Linear Health Sciences. “Our platform expands with the addition of Orchid SRV Type D, and we look forward to developing new use cases for it in other areas of medical tubing in the future.”


In 2020, Plains Ventures, a subsidiary of i2E, led an $11.535 million Series B investment in Linear Health Sciences. It was a follow-on investment to a 2016 Seed round investment of $1.25 million and a $1.54 million Series A round in 2018, both of which were led by i2E/Plains Ventures.

References: 1 iData research report 2 "The Peripheral Intravenous Catheter Journey: A Prospective Cohort Study of 1000 Patients." Podium presentation by Nicole Marsh, RN, and Claire Rickard, RN, PhD, AVA 2017 ann 3 Helm, et al. “Accepted but unacceptable: peripheral IV catheter failure” J Infus Nurs May-Jun 2015;38(3):189-203. doi: 10.1097/NAN.0000000000000100

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Reversing Hearing Loss OKC’s Autigen announces collaboration to discover, develop & commercialize treatments for sensorineural hearing loss


klahoma City-based Autigen, a biotechnology portfolio company of the pharmaceutical accelerator, Ascend BioVentures, developing novel treatments for hearing loss, announced that it has signed a research collaboration and license agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim to discover, develop, and commercialize transformative therapies for patients with sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). About 430 million people suffer from moderate to complete hearing loss worldwide, a number expected to rise to about 700 million by 2050. Hearing loss can significantly impact multiple aspects of life, including the loss of the ability to follow spoken conversations. Hearing loss contributes to increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. Deafness in early life, if left unaddressed, is associated with poor development of spoken language and higher unemployment rates in later life. In addition, hearing loss represents a significant psychological burden such as loneliness, isolation, depression, and anxiety. SNHL, which can eventually lead to deafness, accounts for about 90% of reported hearing loss cases and is related to a degeneration of sensory hair cells (HC) in the inner ear. “We are excited to enter this collaboration with BoehringerIngelheim, an innovation-led company with a strong commitment to developing breakthrough regenerative and hearing loss therapies.” said Elaine Hamm, Ph.D., President, Autigen and CEO of Ascend BioVentures. “This collaboration advances our leadership position in novel therapies for sensorineural hearing loss, an approach that Autigen and our wonderful scientific collaborators at the Hough Ear Institute, have pioneered. The scientific discoveries made by Drs. Kopke, West and many others is nothing short of potentially life changing. It marks the first major licensing partnership out of our pharmaceutical accelerator, Ascend BioVentures, and will enable Autigen to advance its novel therapy approach to restore SNHL for patients, who currently have no approved pharmacological or biological treatment options.” Under the terms of the agreement, Autigen will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and research funding support. The company is also eligible to receive future success-based milestone payments of a total potential value of more than $100M if all milestones are achieved over the course of the partnership. Autigen is also eligible for royalties on products derived from the partnership. After a joint research collaboration phase,



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Boehringer Ingelheim will be responsible for further preclinical and clinical development, and commercialization. Autigen, a subsidiary of Otologic Pharmaceutics, is a biotechnology company developing novel therapies for patients with acute and chronic hearing loss. The company’s research was developed by scientists at the Hough Ear Institute (HEI). The company’s technology can regenerate lost hair cells (HC) in the ear. The therapeutic can be administered in the ear in an outpatient setting. Otologic Pharmaceutics is a portfolio company of the pharmaceutical accelerator, Ascend BioVentures. Visit www. otologicpharma.com. Ascend BioVentures is a virtual pharmaceutical accelerator focused on supporting startups focused on preclinical drug development. A subsidiary of i2E, Ascend’s partners include the Presbyterian Health Foundation, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, and the University of Oklahoma. Ascend is based in Oklahoma City. In addition to Otologic Pharmaceutics and Autigen, Ascend’s portfolio of developing companies includes: Cadenza Bio: Focused on development of novel therapeutic drugs for treatment of demyelinating, inflammatory, and neurodegenerative diseases with a secondary program in endometriosis. This company is currently raising a Series A round. Azorilla: Innovative chemistry designed to neutralize and eliminate noxious chemical compounds with applications ranging from consumer products to industrial manufacturing. This is currently being tested by a Fortune 500 company. Algeron: Clostridium difficile vaccine that could protect against multiple hypervirulent strains of Cdiff and could effectively prevent relapse.


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INVESTING IN BREAKTHROUGH TECHNOLOGIES Echo Investment Capital founding partner Christian Kanady sees OKC as a future global leader in biomanufacturing Editor’s note: Christian Kanady is an entrepreneur and investor with almost 20 years of experience deploying over $1.2 billion in capital across industries. He is the founding partner of Echo Investment Capital, a multi-disciplinary investment firm that is funding innovation in energy, media, life sciences, real estate, national security, and healthcare. An Oklahoma City native, Kanady believes in the unique advantages of marrying overlooked Midwestern assets with world-class talent and sophisticated capital to deliver returns for both investors and communities. Kanady founded Echo Energy in 2010 and built it over a decade into one of the top five largest privately held mineral owners in the United States. He took the time to answer our questions about Echo Investment Capital and its investment philosophy:

Q&A w


WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO CREATE THIS INVESTMENT COMPANY IN OKC AND WHERE ARE YOU SEEKING LIFE SCIENCES CANDIDATES FOR INVESTMENT? Having grown up here, I’ve always known that Oklahoma City was a beautiful city full of innovative, hard-working people — a city that had been under-appreciated for far too long. In recent years, OKC has been on quite an upward trajectory, and we wanted to harness that spirit and reinvest in opportunities right here at home. Oklahoma City is known as a power player in the oil and gas industry because we are both a community of pioneers and we are also extremely resourceful and naturally optimize for the best use of our assets. This is a perfect combination for a biomanufacturing hub since it marries breakthrough technology with processdriven iteration. We think OKC could be a global leader in this space.



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WHAT TYPE OF BIOTECH OR LIFE SCIENCE VENTURES DOES ECHO TARGET FOR INVESTMENTS? Echo will invest in early-stage companies, and typically we find these companies in Boston, San Francisco, New York and other top-decile research centers on the coasts. We are interested in therapeutics, diagnostics, devices, and healthcare tech. We look for companies with a breakthrough technology and a world-class team and then help these companies by connecting them with the bio-infrastructure Echo is creating in OKC. Our goal is to deliver this infrastructure to our portfolio companies in a way that removes their manufacturing pinch points while also lowering development and commercial costs. We believe this not only provides a competitive advantage to our companies that helps de-risk their business model, but also differentiates Echo as a premier investment partner in an otherwise crowded life sciences national marketplace.

WHAT INVESTMENTS HAS IT MADE IN THE LIFE SCIENCE SPACE TO DATE, AS WELL AS OTHER INVESTMENTS? > RESILIENCE creates the processes and platforms that will allow scientists to make their novel therapies quickly, safely and at scale. Collaborating with leaders in academia, biopharma, and governments, they are working to improve the way complex medicines are made, to introduce entirely new definitions of “flexibility” and “adaptive,” and to make it possible for more patients around the world to get the medicines they need. > LUNA is a platform that supports a twosided marketplace that connects certified physical therapists with patients to provide on-demand, in-person, at-home delivery of physical therapy services. Since the majority of physical therapy cases do not require in-clinic facilities or large machinery for treatment, Luna’s model of care supports over 85% of outpatient physical therapy cases. Rehabilitation at home eliminates the need for outpatient facilities and leverages available space of the patient’s home, gym, or office as a site of care while also eliminating leakage from health systems. Founder used to work at Palantir and 8VC is a major investor. > DEKA BIOSCIENCES is a preclinical stage biotech company focused on developing their patented combinatory platform known as Diakines™. This platform has the capability to harness the power of cytokine therapy for treating patients with cancer and inflammatory disease. The initial application for this platform is to develop precision medicines for solid tumors, which has been a long-time goal of cancer therapy developers." Leaps by Bayer is the lead investor and Echo has a seat on the board.

> WHEELER BIO is a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) located in Oklahoma City focused on developing platform antibody manufacturing processes to serve small, venture-backed drug development companies. After the antibody platform is launched, they’ll continue launching additional processes for common biologic formats, such as bispecifics, viral vectors, plasmid DNA (pDNA) and cell therapies. Wheeler has a unique business model that integrates with drug discovery companies and aligns everyday business operations with priorities of the customer. This ensures a robust client pipeline, superior customer service, lower costs, and royalty returns on key products. Echo and their JV partner, Alloy Therapeutics led the initial funding of the seed round. > ZORION MEDICAL is an innovative platform technology preclinical stage company that develops fully absorbable medical stents. This technology is based on novel bio-alloy materials and a patented design that provides performance characteristics of permanent devices but are engineered to degrade years sooner than the standard-of-care devices.

HOW ARE YOU CONNECTING WITH ENTREPRENEURS/ VENTURES SEEKING INVESTMENT CAPITAL? We have built a national network of partners and advisors alongside our partnership with the Oklahoma institutions. Our partnerships represent top academic and clinical institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, Purdue University, Georgia Tech, and toptier venture capital firms like 8VC and Vast Ventures. Through our network and the team’s sourcing efforts, we have generated unparalleled deal-flow comprised of topnotch companies all over the US in the life sciences sector.

WHAT EXPERTISE DOES ECHO BRING TO THE VENTURES IN WHICH IT INVESTS, IN ADDITION TO THE CAPITAL IT BRINGS TO THE DEAL? Echo has a proven track record of investing with over $1bn managed to date. The historical success of our mineral portfolio and the lessons learned of how well-run businesses succeed have positioned our team to support companies in early-stage growth. We are experienced in identifying

market opportunities, assembling teams around the opportunities and then growing them to scale. We bring this experience of building businesses to our portfolio companies like Wheeler Bio in biomanufacturing, Zeno Technologies in energy, and Prairie Surf Studios in entertainment.

WHERE DOES ECHO SEE THE BIOSCIENCE SPACE IN OKLAHOMA CITY IN 10 YEARS AND WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO GET THERE? OKC is the next great American city and the next frontier for disruption and growth. In 10 years, we’ll have experienced an immense increase in partnerships and collaborations, resulting in our city being a mecca for leaders in the life sciences industry, among others. We hope to see a massive influx of bio talent and incubations thriving in the OKC area as more capital gets put to work and the sector grows. There is a world where OKC can be mentioned in the same sentence as places like Boston and the Research Triangle in North Carolina.

WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT US TO KNOW? While Oklahoma has long been known for all it has to offer in oil and gas, it’s quickly establishing itself as a powerhouse in other industries too. It’s one of the nation’s lowest-cost states, making OKC an ideal place for investors and top talent. It’s a future-looking, inflation-protected national hub that’s drawing talent from coastal megacities. That’s why Echo finds it so important to invest into other industries in addition to our staple oil and gas industry. That’s why we’ve invested in startups ranging from life science to entertainment. We want to build an entire thriving ecosystem that will make our home an attractive place to invest, to work, and to live.


BIO Edition 2022



OKC Chamber readies to showcase city’s bio ecosystem at BIO 2022




BIO Edition 2022

YEARS AGO, BIOSCIENCE AND BIOTECHNOLOGY were words you would rarely hear coming out of the mouths of most Oklahomans, especially when oil and gas, aerospace and agriculture essentially dominated the state’s economic landscape. But times are changing, and they are changing fast. Oklahoma City has steadily – and intentionally – transformed itself into an emerging bioscience and biotechnology player over the last few decades, garnering attention from across the nation and globe. One national publication earlier this year even named Oklahoma City as one of five emerging life science development hubs. Accolades like that were not achieved by accident, nor has it been an easy path. Rather, it has been realized through the cooperative and collaborative efforts from several public and private entities and leaders, all of whom understood the importance of diversifying Oklahoma City’s economy in this increasingly global marketplace. A good example of how public and private entities and individuals are coming together to help grow Oklahoma City’s bio industry is by attending the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) International Convention each year. The Chamber has supported the region’s efforts at this convention for more than 20 years. This annual event provides local attendees with ample opportunities to network with thousands of global biotechnology and pharmaceutical leaders and companies. Under the OKBio banner, Oklahoma will have its own exhibit space to promote Oklahoma and its growing bioscience and biotechnology industry to a worldwide audience.

Even Oklahoma City residents understand what a thriving bioscience sector means for the long-term economic viability of OKC. For instance, one of the 16 projects approved by OKC voters as part of the Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) 4 initiative is a $10 million matching grant that will go toward the construction of an innovation hall in the city’s Innovation District. The innovation hall will serve as a central place where activities to grow Oklahoma City’s innovation economy can be facilitated. In addition to the innovation hall, residents also approved funds to construct the Henrietta B. Foster Center for Northeast Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship, connectivity in and around the Innovation District and operating funds for these projects. In total, Oklahoma City citizens voted on more than $71 million to be invested in the Innovation District. This investment has already led to major private development with the announcement of Convergence. This $177.5-million development will include the new innovation hall as well an office tower, 50,000-square-feet of lab space, hotel, retail, public space and more. “As a continued bright spot from a regional economic sector perspective, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, in concert with many other public and private partners, is excited about attending the 2022 BIO International Show in San Diego this summer,” said the Chamber’s Jeff Seymour, executive vice president of economic development. “This show continues to be one of the largest bio-specific tradeshows in the world and provides us with opportunities to highlight existing companies, technologies and partnerships working in the space and to have conversations with potential new investors. In addition, it is a great opportunity to showcase our capacity in this space.” This entrepreneurial spirit has served Oklahoma City well as OKC’s bioscience and biotechnology sector has grown into a nearly $7 billion industry and boasting a workforce of approximately 50,000. With established bioscience players such as the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF), where researchers have made ground-breaking discoveries for several major human diseases; the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and its seven medical schools; pharmaceutical manufacturer Cytovance Biologics; and relative newcomer and bio-manufacturer Wheeler Labs, which in 2020 developed Oklahoma’s first at-home COVID-19 test, Oklahoma City is poised for continued growth in the bioscience and biotechnology sector. An array of Oklahoma City companies have already established their own footprint within the bioscience and technology space, and there are a variety of startups that are on their way to achieving success as part of this incredibly important sector. It is no surprise then that they and other fellow startups, not only in the bio world but in other emerging or established business sectors, had their genesis in OKC. After all, OKC has developed a reputation of being a great place for startups. In fact, one recent publication named OKC as the No. 12 city for startups. With such a conducive environment in Oklahoma City for established and startups alike to succeed, bio companies have sprung up around Oklahoma City in recent years. ParaNano Wound Care is a great example of homegrown innovation.

Chelsea Larsen, CEO Paranano

ParaNano Wound Care was formed in 2018 by University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) graduate Chelsea Larsen, CEO, who has successfully co-founded three companies, and Maurice Haff, CTO, who teaches entrepreneurship and innovation courses at the university and has successfully started three technology-based companies. He is also a registered patent agent. ParaNano Wound Care has developed a special nanofiber membrane based on technologies licensed from UCO and the University of Manitoba. Larsen calls the membrane a biosensor that can detect whether a chronic wound, such as a diabetic foot ulcer, is developing an infection. The biosensor will change color if it detects a rise in bacteria within the wound. Early detection and color change will alert patients or their caregivers to contact the physician in order to treat the infection in time to prevent other, more serious complications. “The membrane is designed to go right on top of the wound and remain there for up to seven days,” Larsen said. “It is designed to be used in conjunction with standard wound dressings that the doctor likes.” Larsen said they are currently working with Oklahoma State University’s New Product Development Center to help develop the biosensor, along with the University of Manitoba to help them improve the sensitivity of the biosensor. Larsen also won the Wound Shark Pitch competition at the Symposium on Advanced Wound Care spring conference in Phoenix, Arizona. ParaNano Wound Care was one of just four startups out of 22 applicants selected to give a pitch presentation for their company or product. “It was a great experience and further validated that the product we are commercializing will make a huge impact in [the wound care] industry,” Larsen said. “We treated this conference as somewhat of coming-out party since we have been operating a little under the radar.”

Parananolabs.com BIO Edition 2022



SCREEN DREAM OMRF develops patientscreening model for OA clinical trials


steoarthritis is among the world’s most diagnosed diseases, affecting an estimated 7% of the global population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says roughly 32.5 million American adults live with the condition, making it the nation’s leading cause of disability. Still, no medications exist to slow or stop OA. Currently available approved drugs treat only short-term symptoms of OA and don’t target the underlying causes or long-term progression of the disease. The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation aims to change that. Conducting effective clinical trials presents a major hurdle in the development of drugs to alter the underlying disease process. Such trials typically require thousands, or tens of thousands, of participants and take decades to complete, as the disease does not progress uniformly. This can render the assessment of investigational OA drugs extremely difficult – and expensive. “The entire field of OA research has been trying to develop predictive models for that small percentage of patients whose disease will rapidly progress over a much shorter time – ideally two years – because those are the ones you need for clinical trials,” said OMRF physician-scientist Matlock Jeffries, M.D. Dr. Jeffries has created such a screening process. His invention could be a game-changer for clinical trials by drastically reducing the time, the number of participants, and the cost of testing new OA drugs. “My main goal is to empower pharmaceutical companies who are dissuaded from entering the OA market because of the total time currently needed for clinical trials,” he said. Dr. Jeffries’ lab focuses on epigenetics, specifically, the methylation of DNA – a biological process by which methyl groups are added to the DNA molecule without changing its genetic sequence. He based his model on DNA methylation data obtained from several hundred OA patients. Users can extrapolate the data for comparison against the blood samples of prospec16


BIO Edition 2022

OMRF physician-scientist Matlock Jeffries, M.D., uses a liquid nitrogen tank, which operates at the extremely cold temperatures needed for storage of human tissue and other samples.

tive clinical trial participants. The patented process predicts the future progression of pain and joint space narrowing. “Our accuracy is in the 80% range, and the big advantage of our model is that it allows for a blood draw at a single point in time when all the patients look the same,” Dr. Jeffries said. “We can pull out which of those patients are going to show disease progression in the next two to three years, which is exactly what you want from a clinical trial perspective. I believe this model provides that level of certainty.” He’s now working on a new test that would provide the same level of predictability at a reduced cost. “And then after that, the next step is applying the same technique to a different OA subset,” Dr. Jeffries said. “This initial model is

based on patients who were already experiencing pain and joint narrowing. So now the question is, can you take a person who currently has none of those symptoms and predict whether they will develop OA in the next couple of years.” To learn more about licensing opportunities for this technology, contact Hemangi Shah, Ph.D., OMRF’s technology development specialist, at hemangi-shah@omrf.org.


SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS The Latest OMRF News LEADERSHIP ROLE IN PARTNERSHIP The National Institutes of Health recently named OMRF to lead an international public-private partnership a imed at developing more effective treatments for autoimmune diseases. OMRF scientists Dr. Joel Guthridge (1) and Dr. Judith James (2) were awarded grants totaling more than $18.5 million to provide the leadership, expertise and infrastructure for the Accelerating Medicines Partnership in Autoimmune and Immune-Mediated Diseases. James will chair the $58.5 million program. Separately, OMRF’s Dr. Darise Farris (3) is a co-lead investigator of the team focusing on Sjögren’s disease.

HOPE FOR LUPUS PATIENTS The New England Journal of Medicine published results of a clinical trial involving OMRF physician-scientist Joan Merrill (4). The study illustrated the incremental advances that Merrill said will be key to solving lupus, a perplexing autoimmune disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans, primarily striking women and disproportionately affecting African Americans, American Indians and Latinos. OMRF served as a trial site in an earlier pilot study for the investigational drug. The Phase 2 trial involved 117 clinics on four continents. Merrill served as lead author for the resulting research paper.



Sepsis, the leading cause of death from infection, kills about 270,000 people per year in the United States – more than lung cancer, breast cancer and drug overdoses combined. OMRF’s Dr. Florea Lupu (5) received a five-year, $3.1 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to pinpoint when a particular protein in the body’s complement system morphs from friend into foe during sepsis by killing healthy cells and causing inflammation. Lupu’s goal is to develop a drug that inhibits the protein’s activation before it turns traitor.

In a study that appears to have human ramifications, Dr. Tim Griffin’s (8) lab examined how diet and exercise affect the knee joints of mice. The scientists zeroed in on synovial fluid, the liquid that cushions the ends of bones and reduces friction as joints move. The OMRF researchers found that synovial fluid from obese mice that exercised modestly resembled the fluid in lean mice, even though the obese rodents continued eating a high-fat diet and didn’t lose weight. “What that tells us is that losing weight isn’t a requirement for having beneficial changes in the joint,” Griffin says.

THE BODY’S NATURAL BAND-AID While studying the role of a certain molecule in lymphatic vessels, which are crucial in fighting infection, OMRF’s Dr. Courtney Griffin (6) stumbled onto a greater grasp of the omentum, a huge mass of abdominal tissue whose healing properties are established but poorly understood among scientists and physicians. “The time it added to our research was well worth it because it resulted in a far better understanding of this fascinating tissue,” Griffin said.

FRUIT FLIES UNMASK DISEASE OMRF’s Dr. Wan Hee Yoon (7) used fruit flies to uncover the shared genetic roots of seemingly unrelated neurological and developmental issues in nine pediatric patients. The study, conducted at 35 research centers on four continents, involved children who suffered from symptoms including epilepsy, gait problems, an underdeveloped brain, and hearing and sight loss. Researchers found that each patient had mutations in the same gene, and Yoon proved the mutations weren’t just a shared trait but the actual cause of their disease. For now, this condition is known only by reference to the gene in which the mutation is found, OGDH.

DOPAMINE STUDIES Using separate grants from the National Institute on Aging and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Mike Beckstead (9) is investigating the role of dopamine in both Alzheimer’s disease and opioid addiction. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain responsible for voluntary movement and the perception of reward. With colleague Dr. Bill Freeman, Beckstead hopes to build a clearer picture of the brain’s response to opioids. “Dopamine tells your brain, ‘Whatever you just did, do it again,’” he said.

WINNING TEAM OMRF’s Dr. Patrick Gaffney (10) teamed with Dr. Jason Buenrostro of Harvard University to secure a five-year, $4.1 million grant to investigate the role of genetics in the development of lupus. The pair will study how the DNA of people with lupus differs from those without the disease. Scientists have made significant progress in uncovering genetic changes that predispose certain people to lupus, Gaffney said. “Now we need to go further into the weeds to understand what these changes do to DNA’s function.”











BIO Edition 2022



DATABASE PLANTING OSU institute receives $1M grant to streamline plant disease testing By Alisa Boswell-Gore



BIO Edition 2022

OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF BIOSECURITY AND MICROBIAL FORENSICS scientists are heading a national project geared toward creating more efficient diagnostic practices for plant pathogens. The $1 million project, funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, aims to safeguard U.S. production systems, ensure safe and beneficial trade and ensure food security and environmental protection. Plant pathologists nationwide have developed diagnostic tools for various plant pathogens, but the information is dispersed across the nation and housed in several places, said Kitty Cardwell, director of IBMF and professor of plant pathology. “We want to create this ecosystem of scientists and resources, so when a scientist

needs to develop a plant disease diagnostic test, they will have a place to find other researchers working on the same organism and can access the reference standards and genetic data they need,” Cardwell said. The Diagnostic Assay Validation Network (DAVN) will house information about researchers, pathogen genetic data and diagnostic tools developed for plant pathogens. It will catalog the information in a way that allows plant pathologists to find the information quickly and efficiently. “If there is an outbreak of an unknown plant disease, developing a verified test that works properly can take years, so we hope by having this database, scientists can use these resources to create a pathogen test more quickly,” Cardwell said.

Photo by Todd Johnson, OSU Agricultural Communications Services

POONAM SHARMA, A RESEARCHER and assistant professor in molecular biology working on DAVN, said getting an incorrect diagnosis for a plant pathogen or not having a test for a plant pathogen can have a negative impact on agribusiness.

“U.S. agricultural biosecurity depends upon reliable diagnostic testing. If you don’t have a validated test... it becomes a risk for food security.”

A MODERN LAND-GRANT UNIVERSITY As a Carnegie R1 research institution — the top classification for research universities across the nation — Oklahoma State University is conducting research aimed at improving the quality of life for Oklahomans and addressing future technology needs. OSU is providing opportunities for private and public partnerships and offers opportunities for economic growth in the state.

BY THE NUMBERS 1,290 faculty (Fall '21) $198,799,000 research expenditures (FY21) 936 grants awarded (FY21)

OUR IMPACT Technology transfer at OSU (FY11-20) 22 startup companies created to commercialize OSU technology 452 invention disclosures by OSU faculty and staff 80 patents issued 104 license agreements

Scientists with the OSU Institute of Biosecurity and Microbial Forensics are heading a national project to create a library for research on plant pathogens to standardize plant disease diagnostic research.

“U.S. agricultural biosecurity depends upon reliable diagnostic testing. If you don’t have a validated test, it is difficult to diagnose accurately to control the disease, and it becomes a risk for food security,” Sharma said. Cardwell said the National Center for Biotechnology Information currently houses DNA and RNA information on plant pathogens, but searching for information specific to plant pathogens can be time consuming with this vast database. “The research done by our team will pull out specific pathogen DNA markers that could be used in diagnostic tests,” she said. “The DAVN will give us a framework for a network of scientists and the resources they need. The researchers can then continue to build it and add to it.” The American Phytopathological Society, a nationally recognized association frequented by plant pathologists, has agreed to house the database. Cardwell said European scientists worked with the IBMF, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other U.S. entities on the initial stages of this project, so the nations can have similar language and understanding with pathogen test performance. “It is important that we have a similar understanding of how tests are developed and what’s needed to make a test accurate, because that helps trade due to the fact that we understand and agree with each other about what tests we are using,” Cardwell said. “We want to have the same understanding as a means of promoting safe and beneficial trade and international collaboration.” This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the U.S. Department of Agriculture under award number 2022-68013-36537 for $985,739. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


BIO Edition 2022



The vision research program at the Dean McGee Eye Institute (DMEI) and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) has received a five-year, $2.96 million grant renewal from the National Eye Institute (NEI). Called a P30 Vision Core grant, it supports the work of researchers in 19 laboratories with advanced equipment, sophisticated software, and other innovations to drive research that ultimately will preserve and restore vision.



BIO Edition 2022


ision research is among the most highly funded areas of investigation at OUHSC. The current grant was originally awarded in 2011 and included several “cores” of specialized equipment available to vision researchers across the campus and at the neighboring Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF). The grant renewal expands those cores, giving researchers additional tools to more quickly translate their findings into treatments. “The amount of this grant renewal is based on the fact that most of our individual researchers hold R01 grants from the NEI, which is considered the gold standard in vision research funding,” said Michelle C. Callegan, PhD, FARVO, director of vision research at DMEI and professor in the departments of ophthalmology and microbiology/immunology in the OU College of Medicine. “Because our vision researchers have been so successful in attracting federal grant funding, we were able to renew this P30 grant, which not only advances their efforts, but helps us to recruit new vision researchers and trainees interested in vision science.” The grant also will fund the creation of a new core in ocular immunobiology, providing researchers advanced methods of analyzing the immunological underpinnings of eye disease. The Ocular Immunobiology Core will be led by Darren J. Lee, PhD, whose own research focuses on autoimmune uveitis, an inflammation of the eye that is the third-leading cause of blindness in the United States. Other cores include a Model Imaging Core that allows researchers to analyze visual function and other physiological parameters of eye disease models. The core also includes an emphasis on genotyping to ensure the genetic consistency of research models. It is led by Raju V.S. Rajala, PhD, whose research is directed toward neurodegenerative diseases of the retina. The Cellular Imaging Core provides sophisticated equipment that allows researchers to visualize physiological processes at the cellular and subcellular levels. That core is directed by Michael H. Elliott, PhD, FARVO, whose research focuses on cellular membranes and how they control cellular signaling in vision. “The technology in these cores is very expensive. One individual researcher could not afford the equipment that we have,” said Dr. Callegan, who leads the overall administration of the grant. “Not only do many different researchers use the equipment, but the cores also facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration among researchers from ophthalmology, physiology, pathology, microbiology, and other areas across campus, as well as OMRF.” Since the current P30 grant was first awarded in 2011, vision research has significantly increased at DMEI, OUHSC, and OMRF. More than 25 researchers are focusing on eye diseases, and several new vision researchers have been recruited, launched their own laboratories, and gained independent funding. Dr. Michelle Callegan, director of vision research for the Dean McGee Eye Institute/University of Oklahoma Department of Ophthalmology, reviews data generated on the Cytek® Aurora full-spectrum flow cytometer. These data represent a 16-color panel of ocular immune cells collected from mouse eyes with experimental autoimmune uveitis in research conducted by Dr. Darren Lee’s investigative team.

Cytek Aurora now has the capability to resolve up to 40 colors in combination. Cytek has developed a 40-color human immunophenotyping panel acquired from a single tube, with outstanding resolution.


BIO Edition 2022



UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA ELEVATES THE STATE’S BIOSCIENCE INDUSTRY University of Oklahoma researchers develop life-changing technologies


he University of Oklahoma is a dedicated contributor to the advancement of the state’s bioscience industry. With six professional colleges and the Graduate College located within the academic medical campus (OU Health Sciences Center), clinical and translational research programs, centers of excellence, and robust basic science programs, OU is proud to conduct life-changing research that economically benefits the state. A strong driving force for OU’s economic impact is the commercialization of intellectual property through licensing, partnering, and the creation of start-ups. The OU Office of Innovation and Corporate Partnerships together with the Office of Technology Commercialization assists researchers in transforming research innovation into tangible impact for the betterment of society. Researchers at the OU Health Sciences Center have produced several spin-out companies that have successfully partnered with the pharmaceutical industry. Three such companies are Pure Protein, Heparinex, and Choncept, which were all funded in large part by Austin-based Emergent Technologies, Inc. William Hildebrand, Ph.D., is founder and chief scientist for Pure Protein and its subsidiary, Pure MHC. Pure MHC, focused on disease-specific target identification and validation, partnered with AbbVie in 2017 to discover and validate peptide targets for use with T-cell receptor therapeutics in cancer. More recently, a key partnership between the OU Health Sciences Center and Pure MHC was formed to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 and position it for the marketplace. 22


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Heparinex and Choncept, two companies based on research from Paul DeAngelis, Ph.D., have also entered into commercial deals with large pharmaceutical companies. Caisson, a subsidiary of Heparinex, subsequently partnered s with Novo Nordisk and Corden Pharma to commercialize their HEPtune® platform technology. The OU Health Sciences Center has also participated in the research and development of a novel antibody therapeutic for sickle cell disease. Selexys Pharmaceuticals, Corp. developed the therapeutic through Phase 2 clinical trials and was then acquired by Novartis in 2016. Selexys spin-off, Tetherex Pharmaceuticals, continues to develop novel therapeutics targeting cell adhesion proteins in thrombotic, inflammatory, and oncologic diseases. Emerging biotech companies that continue forging the path for OU start-up companies include COARE, Moleculera Labs, Biolytx, and Excitant Therapeutics. Courtney Houchen, M.D., is founder and Chief Medical Adviser of COARE Biotechnology. COARE is a multidisciplinary drug development company that has several novel therapeutic technologies aimed at eradicating cancer system cells and associated metastatic processes. Moleculera Labs originated from the research of Madeleine Cunningham, Ph.D. Moleculera produces clinical assays for use in diagnosis of Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococci (PANDAS) and Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS).

Biolytx Pharmaceuticals was founded by and is based on research by Anne Pereira, Ph.D. Biolytx is a drug development company confronting the crisis in antibiotic drug resistance through the advancement of a suite of antimicrobial peptide drug candidates. Excitant Therapeutics is a start-up company based on an interdisciplinary effort of Adam Duerfeldt, Ph.D., Jian-Xing Ma, M.D., Ph.D., and Henry Shin, Ph.D. Excitant secured two Phase I SBIR awards in 2020 and is focused on developing novel therapeutic agents for ophthalmic diseases. Infectious disease expertise and commercial successes arising from the OU College of Medicine include Rodney Tweten, Ph.D., Jimmy Ballard, Ph.D., and David Dyer, Ph.D. Dr. Tweten has identified a mutant pneumolysin vaccine candidate that is licensed for commercial development. Also in preclinical development are Dr. Ballard’s Clostridium difficile toxoid and numerous human disease pathogens identified by Dr. Dyer. Mobile Health Platform technology for the creation of applications with real time interventions capabilities to aide in behavioral modifications from the Stephenson Cancer Center’s Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center Dr. Michael Businelle and his TSET team lead the mHealth Core and have created an easy-to-use efficient platform, Insight, that allows for the creation of mobile applications by researchers or others interested in studying, tracking and improving behavior changes such as smoking cessation.

In partnership with University of Oklahoma, OU Health offers the state’s only comprehensive academic health system of hospitals, clinics, and centers of excellence focused on clinical and research efforts including cancer, vision, and diabetes. OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center (SCC) is a national leader in cancer clinical research and has earned National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation. The SCC was named Oklahoma’s top facility for cancer care by U.S. News & World Report in its 2020-2021 rankings. SCC advances cancer care through transformative research and early-phase clinical trials – bringing the latest scientific breakthroughs to the bedside. Dean McGee Eye Institute provides clinical services in addition to its specific areas of research expertise, which include diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, and dystrophies. The institute’s ophthalmology program was ranked in the nation’s top programs for clinical care, teaching, and research in 2019 by Ophthalmology Times. The Dean McGee Eye Institute provides more than $1 million in eye care services to needy Oklahomans each year. OU Health Harold Hamm Diabetes Center is among the world’s largest and most comprehensive institutions of its kind, bringing in more than $100 million in outside grant funding over the last decade. Research programs focus on the developmental origins of diabetes and obesity, examining how maternal nutrition and metabolic pathways established in the infant during the first 1,000 days of life can interrupt the transmission of diabetes and obesity in the next generation. At the other end

of the life spectrum, research is aimed at causes and complications of diabetes to help identify better prevention and treatment strategies. For additional information about research endeavors and technologies available for licensing from OU Health Sciences Center, contact the Office of Research Administration at (405) 271-2090 http://research.ouhsc.edu, or the Office of Technology Commercialization (405) 271-7725 www.ou.edu/otc.

Dean McGee Eye Institute

OU Health Harold Hamm Diabetes Center


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Moving to Commercialization: Getting the technology out of the labs

RAIG SHIMASAKI, PHD, MBA, is cofounder and CEO of Oklahoma City’s Moleculera labs, a neuroimmunology precision medicine company focused on diagnosing neuropsychiatric and behavioral disorders triggered by autoimmune response. Dr. Shimasaki is a serial entrepreneur, and scientist and is responsible for co-founding nine companies. He was involved in raising over $30 million for these companies and participated in taking five companies public in the U.S. and Canadian stock markets. His research and development work includes searching for an HIV vaccine, genetic breast cancer risk prediction, a rapid flu test, and therapeutic and biologic products for infectious diseases and neuropsychiatric disorders. He has led multiple products through the FDA approval process and is a co-inventor on several patents. 24


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He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma Price School of Business and has written several books on biotech entrepreneurship. He is an expert at taking products to commercialization in an industry that sometimes struggles to get technology out of the labs. “You need to be able to recognize the challenges of science, but you can have the greatest discovery in the world and if you don’t really know how to actually take that into a process for a business and get it through regulatory approval and development it doesn’t really do a lot of good for a lot of people,” said Dr. Shimasaki. It was the desire to help people, especially children, that led Dr. Shimasaki to co-found Moleculera Labs with Dr. Madeleine Cunningham in 2011. They did this in response to receiving numerous calls from parents needing testing and treatment for their children following the end of a clinical study performed at the University of Oklahoma in conjunction with the National Institute of Mental Health. The study looked at antibodies in children that were triggering neuropsychiatric and behavioral disorders. They found that treating the specific antibodies made the patients well. Now, Moleculera has clinical labs where they focus on testing and treating for autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders through precision medicine, which refers to actually testing patients before you give them treatments, so they are directed to the correct treatment instead of trial and error or general treatments. This allows them to focus on the root of the issue rather than treating symptoms.

Testing involves the Cunnigham Panel™, named for Dr. Cunningham, Oklahoma has been home for Dr. Shimasaki for more than 30 who had decades of research into strep, immunology for rheumatic years. He has seen the growth of the biotech sector in Oklahoma and fever and Sydenham’s chorea. The panel looks at the blood of patients has worked with the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science who have sudden onset of symptoms related to Obsessive Compulsive and Technology (OCAST), from whom he has been awarded seed capital Disorder, anxiety, separation anxiety, funding as well as applied research grants. chronic depression, or potentially even He sees OCAST as an integral part of the mental illness, autism, or schizophrenia. success for many of the biotech companies The patients were previously normal and in Oklahoma. then had an infection. He says the OCAST funding allows The Cunnigham Panel identifies a researcher to take an idea and move it in the blood whether they have these forward far enough that investors could antibodies. If they have the antibodies, become interested in it. He references they can be treated for the infection in the large gap between research and the immune system rather than using commercialization. If that gap can be psychiatric drugs to treat the symptoms. filled, then there are more opportunities As a result, patients have shown to get for enterprises to develop in Oklahoma. Dr. Craig Shimasaki - Moleculera Labs rapidly well. According to Dr. Shimasaki,


Common infections can trigger these disorders through molecular mimicry. A molecule on an organism has the same sequence as part of our proteins in the body. “With strep, what happens is a part of that organism is common to some of the proteins in the brain that cause these normal functions for the brain like cognition and movement. But if an antibody is made against that part of the organism, then it will also cross react and recognize a part of the brain and interrupt that normal functioning. We call that autoimmunity,” said Dr. Shimasaki. Moleculera Labs have tested and treated more than 13,000 patients in 50 different countries. This certainly shows a need for the testing, however the next step is to be able to raise capital to expand and scale, as well as add new products. This is where Dr. Shimasaki’s entrepreneurship experience is helpful. He got his start in 1983 in San Francisco with Genentech, one of the first biotech companies in the world. It was here he learned how scientific discoveries were being translated into medicines, tests, and treatments. Dr. Shimasaki has authored multiple books on the business of bioscience, but he says it was not his goal to write books. He was only trying to chronical everything he began to learn through his career. “One of my favorite adages is ‘Learn from the mistakes of others because you never live long enough to make them all yourself,’ so I kept a lot of them. I realized after the second or third company, there are concepts that keep showing up,” said Dr. Shimasaki.

“Oklahoma is absolutely a great place for biotech. There are challenges just because of the biotech field, but Oklahoma has an entrepreneurial culture and a group of people who will help each other regardless of if there’s anything in it for them. You can’t import over that type of culture from somewhere else.”


BIO Edition 2022




WE ARE CURRENTLY SEEKING PARTNERS INTERESTED IN: De novo target discovery – Pure MHC offers class I HLA peptide target discovery for cancer and infectious disease and class II HLA peptide discovery for autoimmune indications.

Dr. Curtis McMurtrey, Pure MHC Director of Immuno-proteomics, analyzing potential oncology targets.

Pure MHC, LLC, is a leader in HLA peptide target discovery, validation, and development for oncology, auto-immunity, and infectious disease. The company’s proprietary HLA peptide target discovery process combines a licensed platform technology with extensive team expertise in disease-specific HLA target identification and validation, enabling broad immunotherapeutic drug development by our partners. Developed over more than two decades, our exclusive workflow combines the unbiased analysis of HLA from primary tumor tissues, soluble HLA from tumor cells, and the subsequent subtraction of HLA peptides expressed by healthy tissues (from our proprietary Peptide HLA Immunotherapy Data Resource “PHIDR” database and repository). The result is the identification of HLA/peptide targets that are uniquely presented on the surface of diseased cells as candidates for therapeutic development. Pure MHC’s unique PHIDR resource consists of HLA from 330 distinct healthy tissue samples encompassing panels of more than forty different organs and tissues from healthy donors. PHIDR provides a healthy immunopeptidome which can be searched to assess the frequency and abundance of HLA peptide complexes that drive the off-target binding of immune therapeutics.



BIO Edition 2022

Advanced target validation through liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LCMS) enabled immune proteomics, including sensitive multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) of discrete peptide targets. Pure MHC can determine if a customer’s target of interest is adequately expressed on the surface of a diseased cell to warrant therapeutic pursuit, or if a therapeutic may be prone to off-target effects because it is also expressed on healthy tissues. Exclusive licenses for novel HLA peptide targets for therapeutic development in colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and ovarian cancer. Each target is: > Expressed at a selected frequency on the HLA of tumor tissues for a given primary indication (including targets found in multiple cancer indications) > Completely absent from all healthy tissues of PHIDR; and > Available for therapeutic license and development.

Pure MHC has recently announced collaborations with ImmunoScape and Myrio Therapeutics, please visit www.puremhc.com for more.

Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology

INTERN PARTNERSHIPS OCAST’s Intern Partnership helps retain Oklahoma’s best and brightest undergraduate and graduate STEM students by matching them with an Oklahoma company to complete an innovative project in a high tech indsutry. Pipeline for critical occupations including engineering, research, and manufacturing. 98% of participating companies say they would hire their OCAST Intern for a permanent position. Industry solution for STEM graduate retention Functions as a public/private partnership Oklahoma undergraduate and graduate students address industry driven projects All major Oklahoma universities have utilized the program.



The Oklahoma City Innovation District is the epicenter of OKC's innovation ecosystem. Located in Northeast Oklahoma City, the Innovation District is an engine of economic growth, populated by internationally acclaimed academic, research and industry organizations spanning Oklahoma’s diverse sectors. The District stretches beyond its physical boundaries and is a convenor that reaches into Oklahoma’s Innovation Pipeline with resources, programming, and state-of-the-art facilities to engineer cross-industry collaboration. Specifically, the OKC Innovation District is home to a growing industry base that is the hallmark of a competitive bioscience cluster. In 2021, the Innovation District submitted a proposal under the EDA’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge as a partner in the Oklahoma Biotech Innovation Cluster (OBIC), which was named one of 60 finalists, a step in positioning Oklahoma as leader in the life sciences and biotech sectors. Visit okcinnovation.com to connect and receive the latest information.

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The Presbyterian Health Foundation is an established innovator of science research located in the heart of Oklahoma. The Presbyterian Health Foundation has awarded more than $200 million to medical research, education and economic development in Oklahoma. Focused on stimulating medical breakthroughs, PHF is committed to supporting Oklahoma scientists who are seeking causes and potential treatments across disease groups. PHF’s continued commitment to funding in this area reflects its belief that innovative medical research is crucial to advancing the health and well-being for all Oklahomans today.

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OKBio is the voice for Oklahoma’s dynamic and diverse bioscience and life science community. In collaboration with partners statewide, OKBio works to: > Build Oklahoma’s image as an emerging leader in biosciences and life sciences > Foster productive bioscience and life science networks and partnerships > Provide education and information on topics both timely and relevant to the bioscience and life science community > Enhance Oklahoma’s bioscience and life science research and business climate > Educate elected officials and the public about the importance of supporting biosciences and life sciences in building our economy and improving our quality of life > Facilitate access to investment capital > Develop entrepreneurial bioscience and life science talent and a skilled workforce

Bioscience in Oklahoma truly is driving innovation that is improving lives and creating jobs! Here is a look at some of our emerging bio companies: ASCEND BIOVENTURES is a pharmaceutical accelerator that guides promising drug candidates through the riskiest, early stages of development. ABV helps identify innovative and transformative therapeutics and works to efficiently launch companies focused on preclinical drug development. BIOLYTX is a pharmaceutical technology company developing a novel antibiotic peptide for potential use in wound healing and treatment of serious hospital-acquired infections, including those resistant to current antibiotics. The technology was developed in the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center laboratory of Dr. Anne Pereira and licensed from OU. CYTOVANCE BIOLOGICS, INC. is a pharmaceutical contract manufacturer producing biologics, therapeutic proteins and antibodies. The company employs more than 200, and their products are used globally for clinical trials and research. IMMUNO-MYCOLOGICS is listed as one of Inc.’s fastest-growing private companies in the nation. IMMY is a diagnostic manufacturing company that has evolved from a company that filled a need in the infectious disease market to an organization with a global focus on saving lives through innovative products. 30


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LINEAR HEALTH SCIENCES is a medical device company that has developed a proprietary, breakaway safety valve technology designed to improve the use of medical tubing in hospitals. Recently, Linear received U.S. FDA clearance and Health Canada approval of its Orchid SRV™, a tension-activated breakaway safety release valve designed to reduce the risk of IV catheter failure and replacement in hospitals. OTOLOGIC PHARMACEUTICS is developing pharmaceuticals to combat hearing loss and hearing-related disorders, like tinnitus. Otologic has two programs focused on therapeutics that protect and repair damage in the ear as well as a regenerative medicine approach focused on re-growing inner hair cells. Otologic has a license deal with Oblato for the development of their clinical stage drug and they recently signed a research collaboration and license agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim to discover, develop, and commercialize transformative therapies for patients with sensorineural hearing loss. PROGENTEC DIAGNOSTICS, INC. has developed an advanced state-of-the-art Lupus flare diagnostic, which has potential to fundamentally change the current treatment paradigm for Lupus. The company has partnered with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, a Center of Excellence

for Lupus in the US and they are striving to accelerate commercialization of the patented diagnostic technology. MS PEN TECHNOLOGIES, INC. is a medical device company commercializing innovative mass spectrometry solutions for molecular analysis at the point of need. The Preciso MasSpecPen, when exposed to a tissue surface and connected to a mass spectrometer can identify the molecular profile of cancerous tissues in real time. The technology is potentially extensible to pathology, robotics, forensic, botanical, and food safety applications, among others. MOLECULERA LABS is a pioneer in infection-induced autoimmune conditions that disrupt neurologic function. The company currently markets next-generation antibody tests that detect whether an autoimmune reaction is causing neurologic or psychiatric symptoms. TETHEREX PHARMACEUTICALS, a clinicalstage drug development company, was formed to develop novel first-in-class therapeutics targeting cell adhesion proteins in thrombotic, inflammatory and oncologic diseases.

OKBio Selling Points > High quality, affordable and available facilities > University of Oklahoma University Research Park > Incentives available for qualifying companies > Oklahoma’s bioscience sector: • Contributes more than $7 billion to economy • Supports more than 50,000 Oklahoma jobs • More than $4.1 billion in annual revenues > Significant pockets of research excellence: • Hough Ear Institute • Laureate Institute for Brain Research • Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation • Oklahoma State University • Noble Research Institute • University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center • Dean McGee Eye Institute • Stephenson Cancer Center • Harold Hamm Diabetes Center • University of Tulsa > Oklahoma’s Innovative service providers: • • • • • • • • • •

Ascend BioVentures Analytical Edge ARL/DNA Solutions Cytovance Biologics EyeCRO Emergent Technologies i2E, Inc. Lynn Health Science Institute OKBio Association Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology • OKC Innovation District > Oklahoma’s cutting-edge research strengths: • Agricultural productivity • Autoimmune diseases and Immunology • Biofuels • Cancer • Cardiovascular Research • Glycobiology and Carbohydrates • Infectious Disease and Microbiology • Natural Products for Health • Plant Improvement • Value-Added Food Product • Vision Research

The Oklahoma BIO Advantage

Oklahoma is fertile ground for bioscience growth, talent and premier facilities: 1. The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) has seen 41 new companies formed in Oklahoma as a result of their programs in the past five years. More than 2000 new Oklahoma jobs have been created and the average salary of employees working for OCAST client companies is approximately $60,000. In 2021, 129 new patents were granted to OCAST client companies, with a total value of $96,950,00. The total financial impact of OCAST programs is $1,002,255,392.00 with a return on investment of 20:1. 2. The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center is dedicated to both basic and translational research, with patient-centered care and research ongoing at the Stephenson Cancer Center, the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center and the Dean McGee Eye Institute. 3. The University Research Park is part of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center campus located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The complex consists of more than 700,000 square feet of modern biomedical research lab and office space supported by state-of-theart communications and infrastructure systems.

4. The Noble Research Institute is the largest private foundation in the country conducting plant science and agriculture research. The Noble Research Institute offers no-cost consultation and education to farmers, ranchers and land managers, and educates students of all ages about science and agriculture. 5. Oklahoma State University has leading expertise in biological and chemical processes with basic and applied researchers in areas ranging from pediatric psychology to respiratory infectious diseases. Multiple researchers across many departments and colleges are also focusing R&D efforts on developing and enhancing drug delivery methods in both humans and animals. 6. One of OKC’s newest districts, the Innovation District, houses internationally-acclaimed research and technology professionals, and encompasses about 1.3 square miles east of downtown Oklahoma City and south of the State Capitol. 7. In the past 2 years, i2E Inc. has invested nearly $7 million in 8 bioscience or life science companies and over has invested at total of $35 million the past 22 years.


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Leveraging the Human Immune System to Create Novel Therapeut ics Pure MHC, LLC is a discovery and development company with platform technology and expertise in disease-specific (HLA Class I and Class II) target identification and validation, as well as immunotherapeutic drug development for cancer, infectious, and autoimmune diseases. Pure MHC is currently seeking partners interested in: ⓵ De Novo Target Discovery In addition to Class I HLA peptide target discovery for cancer and infectious disease, Pure MHC is now offering Class II HLA peptide discovery for autoimmune indications.

⓶ Advanced Target Validation Through liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LCMS) enabled immune proteomics, including sensitive multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) of discrete peptide targets.

Pure MHC can determine if a customer’s target of interest is adequately expressed on the surface of a diseased cell to warrant therapeutic pursuit, or if a therapeutic may be prone to off-target effects because it is also expressed on healthy tissues. ⓷ Exclusive licenses for novel HLA peptide targets for therapeutic development in colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and ovarian cancer. Each target is:

• Expressed at a selected frequency on the HLA of tumor tissues for a given primary indication (including targets found in multiple cancer indications) • Completely absent from all healthy tissues in Pure MHC’s Peptide HLA Immunotherapy Data Resource (PHIDR) healthy tissue database; and • Available immediately for therapeutic license and development. Pure MHC has recently announced collaborations with ImmunoScape and Myrio Therapeutics, please visit www.puremhc.com for more information. 32


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At OG&E, we have a commitment to our communities through economic development, leadership, philanthropy and volunteerism. Alba Weaver leads our Economic Development & Community Affairs efforts in 267 cities & towns across OG&E’s service area. Her team has helped to create more than 12,000 new jobs and attract more than $1.2 billion of new investment.

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BIO Edition 2022