A Wealth of Health

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Biotech Pays Off

Biotechnology appears to be a win-win for investors and businesses, as the results are often far-reaching and prosperous. This is why various venture capitalists and investors turn to the sector for opportunity. Paiva says that often the most difficult thing for a start-up bio-tech venture is finding that first significant phase of funding.[pullquote]You have to have technology, capital and the right people. If you have two of the three then you can usually get the third. But the people are what make it all work.”[/pullquote]

“Sometimes the hardest thing (for a fledgling biotech firm) to do is find capital and get it going,” says Paiva. “Those that do it successfully are usually in Boston or San Francisco where there is money more readily available. Oklahoma is competitive because of a unified vision of stakeholders like PHF, the Noble Foundation and many others. They came together to invest in companies right here in this state. Even when we invest, investors are often creators of technology that will ultimately result in funds. There is always room for more cooperation, to pool resources together to benefit the state, and to continue to take a broad, ecumenical approach rather than only trying to optimize individual projects.”

By pulling people together with similar interests, the state’s biotech and biomed industries can continue to thrive and benefit all.

“We’ve got good quality science here,” says Paiva. “It’s one thing to fund our own – quite another to attract $300 million from out-of-state investors – which is a great commentary on bio-tech in Oklahoma. You have to have technology, capital and the right people. If you have two of the three then you can usually get the third. But the people are what make it all work.”

Critical mass occurs when a group of talented people and unique resources, facilities and activities converge to create momentum, says Long. Right now, in Oklahoma’s biosciences sector, critical mass is happening in several areas.

The Bioenergy Center at Oklahoma State University has identified several regulatory and signaling genes that are important for a high tiller number in switchgrass – critical for increasing switchgrass biomass – by using gene expression profiling in inbred lines with a contrasting tiller number trait.
Source: Oklahoma Bioscience Association

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