Greater Oklahoma City is in the geographic center of North America equidistant from the east and west coasts and major trade partners of Canada and Mexico. The ten county region is at the crossroads of the U.S., sitting at the heart of three major national highways on the NAFTA corridor.
There's a reason Greater Oklahoma City is such a great place for business: Location. The ten county region is positioned within a day's drive of the rapidly-growing south-central region (OK, TX, AR, LA) projected to grow more than 44% during the next 25 years.
"We've had an explosion in... this field during the past decade or so. We're in the middle of a revolution here in Oklahoma City."
- Dr. Joe Ferretti, Senior Vice President, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
ATLANTA - The fertile mind of University of Oklahoma scientist Dr. Paul DeAngelis has yielded a sugar-based compound that is the basis of a fourth life sciences company.
Austin, Texas-based Emergent Technologies Inc. presented the technology of Caisson Biotech LLC at this week's Biotechnology Industry Organization conference here. Caisson is a subsidiary of Heparinex LLC, the Oklahoma City-based company that makes a synthetic blood anticoagulant.
Caisson Biotech will be based in San Antonio, although the synthesizing capabilities and manufacturing will remain in Oklahoma, said DeAngelis, Caisson's chief scientist.
Heparinex, Hyalose and Choncept all are Oklahoma City-based companies launched out of DeAngelis' research into sugar-based molecules at the OU Health Sciences Center.
Caisson Biotech will commercialize a patent-pending therapeutic delivery system called HEPylation, using a synthetic polymer similar to heparin.
Heparin was developed for use as an anticoagulation drug by DeAngelis, said John Hoopingarner, Emergent's executive vice president and chief development officer and president of Caisson Biotech.
Emergent is a life sciences technologies investment and management company with a portfolio that includes four Oklahoma City-based companies, three of which emerged from DeAngelis' research.
What are the uses?A brainstorming session for new uses of the heparosan polymer that is the "backbone" of the commonly used anticoagulant heparin led to the creation of Caisson Biotech in February, DeAngelis said.
"We were thinking of some other applications we could use it for - in this case, drug delivery," DeAngelis said. "All the cylinders hit with this. It has many good features."
The heparosan polymer provides protection against adverse reactions to the drug it helps deliver to the body, as well as provides a longer-lasting effect because it is not eliminated from the body as quickly as other delivery platforms.
"You don't make antibodies against it, and you don't have your protein enzymes dissolve it," DeAngelis said.
In his presentation to a BIO audience on Tuesday, Hoopingarner described the HEPylation process as a drug delivery platform biologically superior to the current industry standard polymer, called polyethylene glycol, or PEG.