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Oklahoma researchers hope to move cancer drug out of lab and into clinical tests

Dr. Courtney Houchen and his co-founders of COARE Biotechnology of Oklahoma City are determined to accelerate a new technology to combat pancreatic and other solid tumor cancers out of the laboratory and into clinical testing.
BY REX SMITHERMAN Published: September 18, 2012

Houchen, who has successfully secured previous National Institutes of Health grants, worked with Oklahoma SBIR Collaborative Resource on COARE's recent proposals for the federal Small Business Innovation Research program.

“Our NIH academic grants were more concentrated on research and hypothesis-driven science,” he said. “SBIRs are a mechanism of action. OSCR did not have to help us dramatically with the research pieces, but they really did help us in stating our facts and our science, making sure our materials were appropriately collected and ensuring that our story was told in a concise clear manner.”

Oklahoma has great entrepreneurs and scientists and strong universities and research institutions. They are working smart to increase our state's share of SBIR/STTR funds

We don't need 50 winners to see an impact — we just need a few.

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


About 44,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year; about 37,000 people die of the disease.

Source: American Cancer Society

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