OrthoCare alliance in OKC to get millions in U.S. Defense Department research funds

Published: Thursday, February 26, 2009 7:00 am By: Brian Brus

The Journal Record

OrthoCare Innovations LLC has formed a multi-agency alliance to tap into millions of dollars in U.S. Defense Department funds for prosthetics research, manufacturing and commercialization in Oklahoma City, executives said Wednesday.

"One of the things we talked about a year ago when we did the acquisition of Martin Bionics was the opportunity to bring together various players in the field of prosthetics research to create a focal point in this area of the United States," Chief Executive Doug McCormack said.

To that end, the company will head up the Rehabilitation Technology Transition Center in Oklahoma City, he said. The center is an element of OrthoCare's Project Restored, and is supported by the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Presbyterian Health Foundation, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, i2E, Oklahoma's EDGE Fund and Francis Tuttle Technology Center.

Collaborative work will include the Defense Department, Veterans Administration, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.

Stuart Harshbarger, the program manager and systems integrator for the $70 million DARPA Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, visited Oklahoma City this week for the announcement.

"I have a very favorable response to their commitment to see some of these technologies actually make their way into the clinical community," Harshbarger said. "And anything we can do to facilitate that, we certainly will help within our capability."

"OrthoCare has been driving a lot of the innovation in certain areas of our program and across the broader rehabilitation community," he said.

The center will be housed near OrthoCare's Oklahoma City offices at Research Park near NW Eighth Street and Lincoln Boulevard, McCormack said. Officials are working on an agreement with the Health Foundation and Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority to set aside business incubator space specifically for commercializing and manufacturing, he said.

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