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.
Noting low costs of living and good jobs, Forbes named Oklahoma City America's Most Affordable City.
At the height of the Great Recession, Forbes.com said Oklahoma City was the most recession-proof city in the country. Two and a half years later, the magazine has given the city another top ranking.
Noting low costs of living and good jobs, Forbes named Oklahoma City as America's Most Affordable City.
The magazine also noted Oklahoma City's friendly residents and an unemployment rate well below the national average, 6.3 percent compared to 9.5 percent.
"We searched for cities that had a balance of cheap living and economic prosperity - places with solid job markets, but where costs aren't prohibitive," magazine editors said. "In these cities, costs have stayed down, but residents have held onto steady incomes and decent jobs, making them a true bargain."
Forbes looked at all metropolitan statistical areas with populations of at least 100,000. They were ranked on the cost of a basket of goods and services, including groceries, health care and transportation, as of the second quarter of 2010.
The magazine also measured the monthly cost of housing as a percentage of household income.
The average sale price of an Oklahoma City-area home in September was $158,755, up 6.7 percent from September 2009, and the median price was $135,000, up 4.8 percent, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors.
The next four spots on the Forbes list went to Pittsburgh; Buffalo, N.Y.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Nashville, Tenn. The top 10 also includes three Texas cities: San Antonio, Houston and Austin, along with Louisville, Ky., and Birmingham, Ala.
"State capitals and university towns have vibrancy because of their job base, the stability of jobs and cultural diversification," said James Gaines, a research economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
The ranking was the latest in a string of kudos for Oklahoma City. In October, Oklahoma City was named a Top 25 Performing City by the Milken Institute, No. 7 Best City for Income Growth by Portfolio.com, a Top 5 Fastest Growing City by Forbes and a Top 10 State for Doing Business by Area Development Magazine.
"In times like these, value is key to everything we do as a chamber," said Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. "From attracting new business, retaining and fostering growth with our current companies to attracting conventions and visitors, the number one factor on everyone's mind is value. Affordability isn't always about being the cheapest, it is also about the quality you get for your dollar."
The Boeing Co. recently announced plans to move 550 high-paying engineering jobs here. The company cited low costs of living and doing business and economic development incentives in the decision to move the jobs from Long Beach, Calif.
A single dose, at 5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, was found to prevent for up to one month the blocking of red blood cells — the genetic mutation that occurs in sickle cell patients, causing painful crises that can lead to heart attack, stroke and lung blockage.
“So far, we've seen no side effects or reaction to the drug in patients,” said Scott Rollins, Selexys president and chief executive. “It really looks good.”
Done in November, the trial involved 27 healthy volunteers of various ages and races, whose blood periodically was tested after they were given a placebo or various doses of the drug. Phase II will include 100 patients with the disease, Rollins said.
About 90,000 Americans, mostly blacks, have sickle cell, he said. The average age of survival is 40, and about 70 percent go untreated. The only applied therapy is several daily pills of an old, toxic chemotherapy drug that causes overproduction of one of the two types of hemoglobin, but only about 30 percent of patients respond and tolerate it, he said.
The prospective treatment — a mouse antibody genetically engineered to look like a human antibody — was discovered by Rodger McEver, head of cardiovascular biology at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, and manufactured by Cytovance Biologics in Oklahoma City.
The drug has been given orphan drug designation by the Food and Drug Administration for its potentially safe and effective treatment of a rare disorder. That means when the drug is publicly launched — which Rollins guesses will be in five years — Selexys will be awarded exclusive sales rights for 10 years.
Cytovance President Darren Head said his company is strongly committed to Selexys. “It's an outstanding medical program, and we're excited to work on such an unmet need such as sickle cell treatment,” he said. It took 18 months to develop the drug, Head said.
Selexys has $18 million in grant and venture capital money for the sickle cell drug.