Bio research, development in OKC on rise with new company

Published: Thursday, July 22, 2021 By: Journal Record Staff

The formation of a new biomanufacturing company, Wheeler Bio, on Wednesday illustrates the continuing emergence of Oklahoma City as a center of biomedical research and development.

The announcement was made by Boston-based Alloy Therapeutics and Oklahoma City-headquartered Echo Investment Capital.

Wheeler Bio, to have a heavy presence in Oklahoma City’s Innovation District, was envisioned to “accelerate the translation of therapeutic innovation into clinical impact,” the partners said in a release.

“Accelerating the translation of therapeutic innovation into clinical impact in the biopharma industry requires new kinds of biomanufacturing businesses. We created Wheeler Bio to provide best-in-class biomanufacturing speed, capabilities, and service to the next generation of drug developers,” Wheeler co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jesse McCool said. “Through our parallel integration with discovery and unique partnering model, we will be able to offer customers groundbreaking turnaround times at fair prices.”

Wheeler launched Boston-based operations earlier this year and has announced plans to open a 35,000-square-foot Oklahoma City facility in the fourth quarter of 2022. Through a partnership with Echo Investment Capital, it will have preferred access to expand its biomanufacturing offering and scale to commercial production in a recently announced 400,000-square-foot manufacturing complex in Oklahoma City’s Innovation District led by commercial real estate developers Richard Tanenbaum and Mark Beffort.

“Oklahoma City’s investment in bioscience and workforce development over the last 30 years has allowed Echo to rapidly enter the biomanufacturing arena with a compelling offering that connects coastal biopharmaceutical companies to critical resources at industry leading customer-first terms,” Echo founding partner Christian Kanady said. “Our close affiliation with the OKC Innovation District and the greater health care ecosystem allows us to connect Wheeler’s customers with exceptional development and clinical resources like Wheeler, Stephenson Cancer Center, Harold Hamm Diabetes Center, and Oklahoma Children’s Hospital.”

With an initial focus on antibody therapeutics, Wheeler’s biomanufacturing programs will seamlessly integrate with Alloy’s preclinical antibody platforms and discovery capabilities, the partners said. Wheeler’s state-of-the-art development and operations and business headquarters in Oklahoma City will be supported

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