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Oklahoma investment in Selexys pays off in blockbuster deal

Innovations and Entrepreneurs columnist Rex Smitherman writes that the Selexys Pharmaceuticals deal is the culmination of 15 years of cooperation among researchers, entrepreneurs and investors.
BY REX SMITHERMAN Published: September 25, 2012

A host of combined Oklahoma resources advanced the company through its preclinical and Phase I clinical trials by providing more than $8 million in funding.

Those included angel investors, the OCAST Technology Business Finance Program (TBFP) and Oklahoma Applied Research Support program, the i2E-managed Oklahoma Seed Capital Fund, an EDGE grant and investment of Accelerate Oklahoma! funds from the U.S. Treasury's State Small Business Credit Initiative program.

“The state-funded TBFP program provided Selexys with initial proof-of-concept funding,” Paiva said. “The company received the largest SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) grant in Oklahoma history, and Oklahoma angel investors and early-stage venture funds played a critical role.”

The Oklahoma Life Science Fund II was among the early investors in Selexys, and Paiva has served on the company's board for several years.

“Selexys also has a very tenacious and experienced management team, board and investors with a singular mission,” Paiva said. “With this group, failure wasn't an option. We wouldn't stop.”

Led by Dr. Scott Rollins and an outstanding management team, this entrepreneurial blockbuster was built on a solid foundation provided by Oklahoma resources.

Rex Smitherman is interim 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 Smitherman at


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SOURCE: Sickle Cell Disease Association of America

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