Oklahoma Innovations - OCAST's Official Newsletter
THREE APPLICANTS WIN $745,000 IN NANOTECHNOLOGY APPLICATION PROJECTS
Three applicants in OCAST’s Oklahoma Nanotechnology Applications Project (ONAP) will receive $745,000 collectively for research that will be completed within three years.
Frontier Electronic Systems Corp. and XploSafe LLC, both of Stillwater; and Non-Metallic Sciences Inc. of Chouteau were chosen from a field of 19 applicants by independent peer reviewers.
Nanotechnology is the science and manipulation of materials at the molecular level or from the 1-100 nanometer range. The field of study promises improved healthcare, safer more efficient transportation, increased sustainability, a cleaner environment and smaller, more powerful technology.
Winning projects require an improved likelihood for commercial success and collaboration with a for-profit Oklahoma company. OCAST works closely with the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, Oklahoma Department of Commerce, State Regents for Higher Education, CareerTech, colleges and universities to make the ONAP program available statewide.
Winning projects include:
- Frontier Electronics Systems Corp. (FES) – Lloyd Salsman, “Development of Nano Batteries for Medical Applications.” Stillwater-based Frontier Electronic Systems, the University of Tulsa and VADovations will collaborate on a three-year project to develop and commercialize a high performance lithium battery. Using nanotechnology fabrication processes developed at TU, the group will create a battery to run VADovation’s implantable blood pump. The proposal combines two unique Oklahoma enterprises to advance an Oklahoma-originated technology in the large and growing healthcare power delivery market. Frontier Electronic Systems will research materials and processes for producing electrodes to be used in the design. Total award: $500,000 for three years
- XploSafe LLC – Allen Apblett, “Sorbents for Removal of Radionuclides from Water.” The project research is designed to determine the technical feasibility and pursue commercialization of the use of molybdenum oxides for removal of radionuclides in water. The resulting sorbents will have higher capacities for sorption of radionuclides and be more radiation and heat resistant than materials currently available on the market. The technology will create positions for chemical engineers, research technicians, chemists and materials scientist. Total award: $200,000 for two years
- Non-Metallic Sciences Inc. – Charles Woodson, “Nano Enhanced BMI Resins for an Engineering Polymer.” The goal of this project is to establish a manufacturing plant in Oklahoma making nano enhanced engineering plastics. The resins would be sold to reaction injection molders, resin transfer molders, tooling manufacturers, filament winders and compression molders. Their first product would target aerospace, military, chemical process, automotive engine components and down hole drilling processes. Spirit Aerospace Systems will be both a customer and consultant on the project. This research will respond to a U.S. Air Force request for a new resin that will withstand high temperatures without becoming brittle. Total award: $45,000 for one year
GOVERNOR RELEASES SCIENCE COUNCIL “ONEOKLAHOMA” PLAN
“OneOklahoma:” A Strategic Plan for Science and Technology in Oklahoma, 2012, has been released by Governor Mary Fallin’s office and can be viewed on the OCAST website by clicking here.
The 48-page document is the result of months of work by the Governor’s Science and Technology Council led by chairman Stephen W.S. McKeever, Oklahoma Secretary of Science and Technology and Vice President for Research and Technology at Oklahoma State University.
Findings call for well-defined and measurable goals for 2020 resulting in an economic impact to the state of more than $4 billion. An estimated 53,000 science and engineering jobs would be created with total employment numbers reaching 160,000.
Specific information noting the importance of science and technology for Oklahoma’s growth are enumerated in the document.
APPLIED RESEARCH PROJECT AWARDS GO TO SEVEN CONTRACTS VALUED AT $1.6 MILLION
OCAST is awarding $1,633,663 to support research efforts to strengthen the infrastructure of Oklahoma’s technology economy through the Oklahoma Applied Research Support (OARS) program. The program investment represents a long-term effort by the state of Oklahoma to encourage technology-based economic development.
OCAST received 28 proposals and external reviewers recommended 16 for funding. Available funds allowed support of the seven highest ranked projects.
Funded projects support growth in the following Oklahoma industries: optics and photonics, animal and plant biotechnology, semiconductors, biotechnology and diagnostics and therapeutic environmental biotechnology.
Each of the seven successful applicants will conduct research under this round of funding for two years.
Successful applicants include:
Optics and Photonics
- Terry Golding, principal investigator, “Development and Manufacture of Next Generation Ultra High Efficiency Photo-Voltaic Solar Cells” – This program will develop cost-effective manufacturing processes for the production of ultra-high-efficiency solar cells. If successful, the final product resulting from this OARS project will be panels containing advanced solar-concentrator cells based on multi-junction dilute nitrides that achieve at least 50 percent energy efficiency at a concentration level of 800 times normal sun intensity. Amethyst Research Incorporated – $300,000
- Khalid Hossain, principal investigator, “Antimonide-based Quantum Dots for High Efficiency Photovoltaic Applications” – Materials and structure used in conventional solar cells currently available in the market are inherently poor in quality and cannot efficiently convert solar light into power. As a result, they cannot compete with nuclear and coal energy without the help of government incentives. The goal of the project is to realize quantum-dots, which is beyond nanotechnology, as the solution to next generation solar cells. Amethyst Research Incorporated – $300,000
- Lucas Phinney, principal investigator, “Integrated Analytical Toolset for Defect Reduction in Large Format Infrared Detector Materials” – Successful completion of the project will provide advanced metrology techniques for use in manufacturing of infrared sensors and focal plane arrays. Integration of these techniques into manufacturing will increase device performance as well as enhance operability and yield of focal-plane arrays resulting in lower unit costs. Amethyst Research Incorporated – $253,663
Animal and Plant Biotechnology
- Guolong Zhang, principal investigator, “Development of Immune Boosting Feed Additives” – Routine use of feed-grade antibiotics at sub-therapeutic dosages for growth promotion and disease prevention in livestock and plants is suspect for rapid emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. This practice is long considered a serious threat to public health. Alternative approaches are needed. This investigator has identified alternative dietary supplements that show properties that enhance host immunity and disease resistance. Oklahoma State University – $90,000
- John Quinn, principal investigator, “Next Generation Drug Discovery Platform with Multimode Detection” – SensiQ Technologies Inc. plans to commercialize a new screening platform in the life science market for use by large pharma and biotech companies. This product, when added to the company’s current commercial products in life sciences, will enable SensiQ to become a new leader in the label-free life science market segment. SensiQ Technologies Inc. – $90,000
- Ronald Wassel, principal investigator, “Manufacturing of Biodegradable Polymeric Microparticles” – The project goal is to develop a manufacturing process for the production of biodegradable microparticles for sustained drug delivery to the eye. Charlesson LLC – $300,000
- Diagnostic and Therapeutic Biotechnology
Sean Bauman, principal investigator, “Immunoassay for Early Diagnosis of Coccidioidomycosis” – The project goal is to develop an immunoassay to aid in the early diagnosis of coccidioidomycosis using serum or urine samples. Also known as Valley Fever, the fungal disease infects an estimated 150,000 people each year in the U.S. Immuno-Mycologics Inc. – $300,000
NEW WEBSITE, FACEBOOK PAGE AND TWITTER COMBINE TO ENHANCE OCAST’S CONNECTIVITY
An updated OCAST website, created in concert with the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services, had its official roll-out in September. The state launched the website template for state agencies as an effort to create a more transparent government and create and a consistent design that reassures Oklahomans they are visiting a state site.
OCAST’s new site features a rotating banner to highlight current features and events, detailed program information, connectivity to about six months of Oklahoma Innovations radio program and contact information.
Debbie Cox, program officer and OCAST’s webmaster, said, “The upgrade helped fulfill a statewide mission to make certain all agencies are recognized as official agencies of Oklahoma state government. We’ve been able to make progress for this mission while making available a website that is both creative and informative. We welcome comments and suggestions for improvement.”
The agency also launched their official Facebook page and re-launched their Twitter account. The social media pages will provide up-to-date information about OCAST related news, industry information and the ability to interact with the agency. You can follow OCAST on Twitter @OCAST or on Facebook under Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.
ALLIANCE WRAPS-UP 2012 CONFERENCE ON MANUFACTURING
Four hundred industry leaders gathered in Tulsa recently for the 2012 Oklahoma Conference on Manufacturing. It’s the state’s largest annual event targeting the economically-vital sector.
The conference is organized by the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance and featured nationally-recognized speakers and a plethora of informative workshops. Session topics included Lean Manufacturing, government regulations, crisis management and innovation.
“Our specific focus this year was on creative thinking and innovation,” said Chuck Prucha, president of the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance. “That included not only new product development, but also the exploration of new markets, new services and innovative production concepts. As manufacturers struggle to keep pace with accelerating changes, innovation and being proactive has become more critical than ever to individual manufacturing firms and the Oklahoma manufacturing sector as a whole.”
Keynote addresses were delivered by Gus Whalen and Michael McMillan. Whalen’s talk related the real-life evolution of the Warren Featherbone Company, founded in 1883. Crisis has helped reinvent the Georgia company, and he painted a larger picture of corporate transformation, which included adapting to change, innovation and investment in people.
McMillan is one of the world’s foremost experts on creative thinking. He has worked with clients ranging from John Deere to Michael Jordan. His message inspired the crowd and offered real-world tips to help manufacturers strategize for the future and compete in an ever-changing landscape.
Chad Wilkerson, vice president for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, provided an update on the current state of Oklahoma’s manufacturing economy.
During a special luncheon, Lt. Governor Todd Lamb presented four Oklahoma Governor’s Manufacturing Leadership Awards. The awards are bestowed on a select few manufacturers in recognition of their pacesetting standards. The award-winning companies must be progressive, forward-thinking and willing to adapt to change to become more successful in their marketplace. An awards committee made up of manufacturing professionals selects the winners from a long list of nominees.
“They represent the enormous potential available in Oklahoma and take a leadership role in promoting the importance of doing business in and from our state,” Prucha said. “The four winners represent remarkable organizations with amazing impacts on their communities through their innovative growth.”
Winners were Forum Energy Technologies in Elmore City, Gabriel Ride Control in Chickasha, Gunnebo Johnson in Tulsa and Tonkawa Foundry in Tonkawa.
Conference supporters included strategic state partners like the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.
NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT CENTER RECEIVES $1.9 MILLION GRANT
The Oklahoma State University New Product Development Center in cooperation with the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance and the OSU Applications Engineering Program has been awarded a $1.9 million grant through the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.
The grant, one of ten selected for funding through a competitive review process, will allow the NPDC and the Manufacturing Alliance to begin the Manufacturing Improvement Program for the Oil and Gas Industry Supply Chain and Marketing Cluster. This program will focus on increasing the profitability and innovation of small- to medium-sized manufacturers in the oil and gas industry. Sustainable job creation for 44 low-income Oklahoma counties is one of the top objectives of the project.
“Our working relationships with the NPDC and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce makes us confident that as a team, we can provide positive innovation outcomes leading to economic growth and jobs for the manufacturers clients, the state and the nation,” said president of the Manufacturing Alliance, Chuck Prucha.
The NPDC and the Manufacturing Alliance have worked with partner organizations closely to provide business and engineering innovation assistance to small- and medium-sized manufacturers in Oklahoma. Through the Advanced Jobs and Manufacturing Innovation program, the organizations will expand the scope of their work to include development and improvement of small- and medium-sized manufacturers within oil and natural gas industry supply chain and marketing cluster.
“Helping Oklahoma companies stay strong and grow is a primary goal of Governor Mary Fallin and Commerce,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Tourism, Dave Lopez. “This project will strengthen many of our manufacturers in a key cluster in Oklahoma.”
The grant will provide three years of funding and focus on 44 counties in Oklahoma with per capita income less than 80 percent of the national average. By fostering growth and helping develop manufacturing within these counties, the NPDC and the Manufacturing Alliance will be able to promote sustainable job growth and over-all company profitability.
“We have an outstanding oil and gas industry in Oklahoma that would benefit from the support of diverse world-class suppliers,” said NPDC associate director, Dan Tilley. “Our project will help small- and medium-sized manufacturers become part of the world-class suppliers to the gas and oil industry.”
The creation of the Manufacturing Improvement Program for the Oil and Gas Industry Supply Chain and Marketing Cluster will bring together five federal agencies – the Economic Development Administration, the Department of Labor, the Employment and Training Administration, the Small Business Association and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The NPDC will partner with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, the Center for International Trade and Development at OSU, the CITD/SBA and the OSU Applications Engineering Program in order to foster development and job growth within the oil and natural gas industries.
“Bringing together this many organizations to work on a project is a demonstration of the positive working relationships NPDC has developed with other Oklahoma and national agencies concerned about job growth in Oklahoma,” said NPDC director, Robert Taylor. “We are very excited to take the lead on the project, and we expect growth in the number and quality of jobs in oil and gas supply chain manufacturers in low-income counties of Oklahoma.”
In order to integrate the manufacturing improvement program with the current oil and gas industry needs, The Oil and Gas Industry Advisory Board and the Oil and Gas Industry Manufacturing Council will be created. The Oil and Gas Industry Advisory Board will represent large companies within the oil and natural gas industry that need products from small- and medium-sized manufacturers, while the Oil and Gas Industry Advisory Board recommends projects and problems that need to be addressed.
“The oil and gas supply chain manufacturers are a vital sector of the state economy that is in need of assistance with advanced manufacturing upgrades to become more competitive in the national and global marketplace,” said executive director of OCAST, Michael Carolina.
The New Product Development Center is a multidisciplinary organization working with small- and medium-sized manufacturers across Oklahoma. The NPDC employs interns from engineering, business, and agricultural backgrounds, who work with OSU faculty and staff to assist manufacturers in product development and industry analysis. The NPDC interns will play a key role in the Manufacturing Improvement Program for the Oil and Gas Industry Supply Chain and Marketing Cluster.
The NPDC receives support from the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Science Foundation. For more information about the NPDC, visit www.npdc.okstate.edu.
FIRST CHOICE HEALTH IS NATION’S FIRST PPO TO ADOPT MEDENCENTIVE PROGRAM
First Choice Health has become the first preferred provider organization (PPO) in the country to adopt the MedEncentive program for its own employees and their family members. First Choice Health is also only the second third-party administrator (TPA) nationally and first locally in the Pacific Northwest to adopt the innovative program.
MedEncentive is an Oklahoma firm that has worked with OCAST, i2E (Innovation to Enterprise) and recently was featured on Oklahoma Innovations, OCAST’s science radio magazine.
MedEncentive is a patented, web-based incentive system that offers financial rewards to both doctors and patients to declare or demonstrate adherence online to best practices and healthy behaviors, provided the parties agree to allow each other to confirm or acknowledge their adherence. This creates what is called “mutual accountability,” which motivates simultaneous improvement in both care quality and health behaviors. The program is also noted for its use of “information therapy” to promote patient health literacy, empowerment and adherence. Years of testing and analysis by independent experts have shown that this approach is very effective at controlling healthcare costs.
Formed in 1985, First Choice Health is owned by prominent hospitals and physician groups in the Pacific Northwest. It provides network, administrative and client services to well over one million people in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and select areas of Colorado, North Dakota and South Dakota.
“We are adopting the MedEncentive program for our own employee health plan for multiple reasons,” said Ken Hamm, president of First Choice Health. “First, the program’s effectiveness has been independently validated. Second, our organization appreciates how MedEncentive’s unique approach solves a complex problem by balancing the interest of the employer, its health plan members and their doctors. Third, doctors and patients who use the program seem to really like it. And finally, we believe our customers will want us to have firsthand experience if we are recommending it to them.”
The MedEncentive program received further validation recently when two of the top ten reinsurers announced they are offering stop-loss coverage discounts to employers that adopt the MedEncentive program. These institutionalized discounts are considered unprecedented. “As a former employee benefits leader, I am excited to see First Choice Health offer this benefit enhancement for their employees and dependents,” said Cecily Hall, MedEncentive executive vice president. “This experience with their own employees and the physician community will not only give First Choice Health an important market differentiator, but it will also allow them to experience how MedEncentive engages plan members and their doctors by creating better health at lower cost.”
MedEncentive offers healthcare cost containment services based on its patented, one of a kind, web-based incentive system. What is unique about the MedEncentive program is how it uses payer-sponsored financial incentives to reward both doctors and patients for adhering to evidence-based care and healthy behaviors, provided they agree to allow the other party to confirm their adherence. Unlike any other solution, this process of “doctor-patient mutual accountability™” triangulates the interest of the payer, consumer and provider. Their program is also noted for its use of “information therapy” to promote patient health literacy, empowerment and adherence. The program’s effectiveness has been proven time and again in multiple, multi-year trials, the results of which have been confirmed by independent analysts and academic researchers. For more information, visit: www.medencentive.com.
SELEXYS PHARMACEUTICALS COMPLETES $23M EQUITY FINANCING
Selexys Pharmaceuticals Corp. announced that it has successfully completed a $23 million Series A equity financing, led by MPM Capital. Additionally, Selexys entered into an agreement with Novartis Pharmaceuticals whereby Novartis has been granted an exclusive option to acquire Selexys and its lead asset, the anti-P-selectin antibody SelG1, following the successful completion of a Phase 2 clinical study in patients with sickle cell disease. Including upfront, acquisition and milestone payments, the agreement with Novartis could reach up to $665 million.
The Series A financing includes a new major investor, MPM Capital. Concurrent with the investment, Selexys also announced the addition of Todd Foley, Managing Director of MPM Capital, to the Selexys Pharmaceuticals board of directors.
“Patients with sickle cell disease endure great suffering and frequent hospitalization due to painful vasoocclusive crises. Chronic blockade of P-selectin function with SelG1 may improve clinical outcomes and lower the associated cost of patient care,” said Dr. Scott Rollins, president and CEO of Selexys. “We are excited to welcome MPM and Novartis and look forward to a productive partnership.”
The combination of the Novartis agreement and the closing of the Series A financing will allow Selexys to advance the SelG1 program through a large Phase 2 clinical study in sickle cell patients and will also fund a second program at Selexys, an anti-PSGL-1 antibody, through a Phase I clinical study.
“Vasoocculsive crises represent a significant healthcare problem for sickle cell disease patients, and we were impressed by the early data for SelG1 and the quality of the Selexys team,” said Todd Foley, managing director of MPM Capital. “We are pleased to be a part of this successful financing structure, and I look forward to working closely with Selexys.”
OKLAHOMA INNOVATIONS RADIO SHOW
Through enlightening exhibits, educational programs and up-close, sometimes hands-on encounters with aquatic life, the Oklahoma Aquarium promotes a greater understanding and appreciation of the many fish, sharks, corals and other species that inhabit the world’s waters. In addition to in-house studies, the Oklahoma Aquarium has worked in cooperation with NOAA, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Dateline NBC and BBC to create documentaries and research valuable to the scientific community.
Listen to the Show
FlightSafety Simulation provides vertically integrated design, manufacture and support of full flight simulators, advanced flight training devices, superior visual systems and highest-fidelity displays. Located in Broken Arrow, they supply a worldwide network of learning centers with simulators for nearly every type of aircraft made today.
Listen to the Show
Mark your calendars for the upcoming BioScience Roundtable discussions October 19, November 16 and December 14.
The Bioscience Roundtable (BSR) is an organization of Oklahoma City metro-area bioscience companies and research institutions that collaborates with OKBio to support development and commercialization of Oklahoma bioscience technology. BioScience Roundtable serves as a sounding board to air and identify common issues, a forum for formulating solutions and policy recommendations and a vehicle for sharing resources.
BioScience Roundtable meets for lunch once a month at the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park. Its informal agendas generally feature a speaker on a topic timely and relevant to the group and an opportunity for open dialogue among the attendees.
Upcoming meetings include:
- On October 19, Chuck Shirley with Mesobio will discuss “Creating Efficiencies in Research.”
- The November 16 meeting will feature Charles Mooney with the Oklahoma Blood Institute.
- On December 14, Dr. Raman Singh with Oklahoma State University, Tulsa, will discuss bio materials.
OKBio values BioScience Roundtable for its role as a sounding board and a source for grassroots information regarding the needs and interests of bioscience researchers and emerging bioscience companies and encourages formation of similar local and regional groups around the state.
To RSVP, contact Cassie Papin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dates and deadlines for OCAST program solicitations can be found on OCAST’s website, www.ocast.ok.gov and by signing up for notifications. Contact information for individual staff members assigned to the programs also is available on the website.
INNOVATIONS IN HISTORY
On October 17, 1956, the first commercial nuclear power plant, Calder Hall, officially began operations in Cumberland, England. At a large ceremony, Queen Elizabeth II threw the switch that diverted electricity generated by the plant to the public grid. The Calder Hall plant grew to four reactors with a combined output of 200 Megawatts of power and stopped operations in 2003.