When it comes to bioscience, it's almost an understatement to use “world class” to describe Oklahoma's cadre of research institutions. “Intergalactic” might be more appropriate.
With all the discovery and application of science being done at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma State University, Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, among others across the state, it's no wonder that bioscience companies make up nearly a quarter of i2E's client firms.
So, when the Oklahoma Bioscience Association (OKBio) became part of i2E, it created a synergistic opportunity for us to leverage our expertise and resources to further solidify a statewide private and public sector commitment to this vital industry.
We are in the business of commercializing technology and starting new companies. One of the more fertile growth areas is the biosector. The earlier we can get involved in bioscience companies, the earlier we can get these startups on a good commercialization path.
Already, we have at least 14 different events planned over the next year that relate to the OKBio organization. We are providing business education strategies and bringing in renowned national experts to conduct workshops aimed specifically at commercializing bioscience discovery.
But there is more to do.
Whether it is working with the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) on critical industry issues, exhibiting at BIO's international convention or carrying out educational programs and networking events in Oklahoma, our mission is to help OKBio continue to grow into a sustainable entity that connects constituencies in Oklahoma and beyond who share a vested interest in bioscience and can advocate for the interests of the bioscience community.
To do this, OKBio requires the energy and engagement of Oklahoma's entire bioscience community — especially bioscience businesses. Organizations like the research institutions, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, and the Oklahoma BioScience Roundtable have been very proactive in their support. We need more individual companies to join in.
Bioscience jobs pay on average more than 79 percent more than other average private sector jobs. Bioscience wage growth outpaces that of the private sector, increasing by 13.1 percent since 2001, compared with 4.4 percent among all other industries.
With that kind of return on investment, it's easy to understand why promoting bioscience is good for Oklahoma's health.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state's technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.
DID YOU KNOW?
The 2013 BIO International Convention, hosted by BIO, drew 13,594 industry leaders from 47 states and 62 countries, with more than 3,300 partnering meetings between participants.