Oklahoma City's Cytovance sees whirlwind of potential success at BIO convention

The 2014 Biotechnology Industry Organization convention is a whirlwind of potential success for Darren Head, president and CEO of Oklahoma City-based Cytovance Biologics Inc. Prospective customers are filling up his calendar and keeping the Cytovance exhibition space buzzing.
By Jim Stafford, For The Oklahoman Modified: June 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm •  Published: June 25, 2014
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The 2014 Biotechnology Industry Organization convention is a whirlwind of potential success for Darren Head, president and CEO of Oklahoma City-based Cytovance Biologics Inc. Prospective customers are filling up his calendar and keeping the Cytovance exhibition space buzzing.

“We’ve had more leads in our first day than in all the previous BIO shows combined,” Head said Wednesday morning just after completing the first business meeting of the day at a conference area located in the Cytovance booth space.

“It’s been crazy for us,” Head said. “I don’t know if it’s just the timing or the way the company’s growing or what’s going on. But it’s a lot of activity.”

Founded in 2003 by former executives of Novazyme Pharmaceuticals, Cytovance delivers a broad menu of specialized contract biological manufacturing services that help companies such as Oklahoma City’s Selexys Pharmaceuticals manufacture drugs for clinical trials.

The company has grown at a phenomenal pace since Head became its chief executive just over six years ago. It has grown from 30 employees to 135, many of them highly paid scientists.

Revenue is almost 20 times the $1.5 million generated in 2008. New, larger bioreactors have been installed in the company’s 44,000 square foot manufacturing facility at the University Research Park. Manufacturing capabilities have expanded, as well.

“We’re profitable, moving quickly to commercialization,” Head said. “We hope to have our first commercial product coming down the pipeline. We developed it for another company. It’s pretty exciting.”

Cytovance maintains its own exhibition space apart from the OKBio booth at the BIO show, largely because it wants to have a presence among its competitors in the contract manufacturing industry at the show.