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OKC: PHF Research Park goes No Vacancy

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Research park fills last available space

By Jim Stafford

The Oklahoman

24 tenants added in past 20 months

The "no vacancy" sign has gone up on the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park.

The last 1,800 square feet of space in the park -- out of almost 600,000 square feet -- has been committed, Mike Anderson, president of the foundation, said Tuesday.

"In the last 20 months, 24 new tenants have been added to the Research Park," Anderson told an audience of about 150 people attending a health research conference at the park's Conference Center. "There are now 44 tenants here."

The latest tenant is a company created by University of Oklahoma researcher Dr. Jian-Xing "Jay" Ma, called Charlesson LLC and its subsidiary, Lifetrees LLC.

Both companies were formed in 2005, said Mike Moradi, a partner in the companies through his Venture Development Associates.

Charlesson is an analytical research lab performing research for big pharmaceutical companies on a contract basis, while Lifetrees is working to develop products to battle eye disease, Moradi said.

Two patents have been filed based on Jian-Xing's research, and he has won six National Institutes of Health Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grants to support his work, Moradi said.

Jian-Xing's companies are in the same Research Park building where Oklahoma's biggest biotech success story, Novazyme Pharmaceuticals, began. Its successor, pharmaceutical Genzyme Corp. operates its Oklahoma City laboratories there.

Genzyme bought Novazyme in 2001 for $229.1 million.

"A lot of big success stories and serial entrepreneurs are located there, and we're happy to be part of that," Moradi said.

Anderson said the foundation plans up to 10 buildings on the Research Park campus, with planning already under way for a second parking garage and a seventh building. No definitive dates for construction have been established, Anderson said.

The sixth building, which is the location for the Cytovance Biologics biopharmaceutical plant, is complete and awaiting FDA approval to begin operations.

"The FDA is over there right now," Anderson said. "It has begun validation of the Cytovance bioreactors, which have been installed. We look toward manufacturing protein therapeutic biologics within this year."

A local partnership that includes Chesapeake Energy Corp. founders Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward took over the completion and operation of the Cytovance plant earlier this year after the original group failed to obtain financing.

Meanwhile, the Research Park won't be finished when the 10th building has been built. The foundation has obtained land across Lincoln Boulevard on the south side of NE 8 Street that will allow more development, he said.

The value of the Research Park's six buildings and parking garage approach $100 million, Anderson said.

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