Bio Matters: Oklahoma researchers, entrepreneurs advance bioscience ventures

Sheri Stickley: Oklahomans are making great strides in bioscience discoveries and businesses, but bringing products to market can be a lengthy process.
By Sheri Stickley Published: December 16, 2012

Exciting things are happening in Oklahoma bioscience.

An Oklahoma City biotech company is one step closer to producing a new treatment for sickle cell disease.

A Norman company is saving lives of AIDS patients around the world who are threatened by a devastating fungal disease.

Ardmore's Noble Foundation scientists discovered a substance in certain plants that may be a new source of carbon fibers for manufacturing.

Unlike many industries, bioscience touches all our lives in very personal ways. Everyday, Oklahoma scientists and entrepreneurs are working on cures for our most challenging diseases, new methods to feed a hungry world, and new means to power our lives and clean our environment.

These challenges are reflected in the numbers. For example, by 2025, 53.1 million people in the United States will have diabetes, costing $515 billion. Feeding a world population of 9.1 billion in 2050 will require raising overall food production by 70 percent (nearly 100 percent in developing countries).

Although the bioscience sector has a $6.7 billion annual impact on our state's economy, most Oklahoma bioscience companies are small, entrepreneurial businesses. Like all technology entrepreneurs, it's critical they have access to a highly skilled workforce, local investment capital, and strong technical support.