May 9, 2017
Scott Rollins received the OU Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He earned his bachelor of science in Cytotechnology at OU and his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. He completed a post-doctorate fellowship at Yale University and, along with a team of Yale research scientist, co-founded Alexion Pharmaceuticals in 1992. Rollins helped build Alexion into a publicly-traded success story with a market cap of over $2 billion. He went on to team up with fellow Oklahoma native Russell Rother to develop and win FDA approval for a drug known as Soliris, which treats a rare blood disease known as PNH. Soliris has been called a miracle drug by those it has benefited, including some Oklahomans.
In 2008, Rollins returned to OKC to head up Selexys Pharmaceuticals, a promising young spin out from OUHSC that had licensed a portfolio of OU patents related to antibody production. Under his leadership, Selexys raised $23 million in venture capital from MPM Ventures of Boston and conducted their Phase I and Phase II studies for a sickle cell anemia drug therapy the company had developed. In 2016, Novartis acquired the sickle cell anemia assets of Selexys in a transaction valued at $650 million based primarily on the efficacy of the Phase II study results. His team has now formed a new company called Tetherex to focus on other diseases by leveraging the base technology originally licensed from OU.
Ken Parker received the OU Entrepreneurship Community Partner Award. After working as a software engineer at Martin Marietta and later at JP Morgan, Parker moved back to Noble, Oklahoma and co-founded Risk Metrics Group in 1998. He and several founding partners grew RMG to 1,200 employees globally, 150 of those right here in Norman. He led the company through a successful IPO and acquisition by MSCI. Today, MSCI is one of the larger employers on the OU Research Campus.
After the acquisition in 2011, Ken helped to cofound his next venture, NextThought, LLC. In 2015, NextThought was named to The Oklahoman’s list of Top Places to Work.
DollHer Monthly Club received the OU Student Innovators Award. DollHer Monthly Club began in a Price College classroom where the three founders – Cheyenne Smith, Jade Freeman and M’ary Miller – were asked to find a solution for a pain that they felt needed to be solved. The founders believed that receiving a month's worth of feminine hygiene products plus a few extras was what women around the world needed. Their research showed that current consumers could buy a subscription box for nearly anything (razors, books, food, etc.), but none of them made the lives of girls and women more convenient.
Now, as college graduates with degrees in Public Relations from the OU Gaylord College of Journalism & Mass Communication, Cheyenne, Jade and M’ary are continuing to live out their dreams of providing essential products to women, as well as build an inviting community in efforts to make a female’s life, and many others, so much easier.
Mark Sharfman received the Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Director’s Award. He is the director of the Price College Division of Management and International Business and holds the Puterbaugh Chair in American Enterprise. Sharfman has published his research in several outlets, including Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Business & Society, Decision Sciences, Journal of Management and Strategic Management Journal. He has served on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review and Strategic Management Journal. He is currently an associate editor of the Journal of Business & Society. His research has been supported by grants from the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation.
Marcus Wolfe received the Entrepreneurship Research Excellence Award. Wolfe serves as an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at the Price College of Business. Prior to joining OU, he taught at Ball State University after obtaining his PhD from Indiana University, among some of the top researchers in the entrepreneurship field. In 2016, his research was published in the premier journal Management Science.
Jim Tomasek received the Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Cross-Campus Partner Award.
In his role as the vice president for research at the OU Health Sciences Center Campus, Tomasek oversees and manages administration for all research activities at OUHSC and works with university leadership to establish research and scientific development priorities.
After receiving his bachelor of science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and his PhD from SUNY-Albany, he pursued a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Harvard Medical School and then joined the faculty of New York Medical College. In 1988, he joined the faculty of OUHSC as an associate professor in Anatomical Sciences. He later received an appointment in the Department of Cell Biology, was named a David Ross Boyd Professor in 2007 and served as dean of the HSC Graduate College from 2003-2014. He has also been a visiting scientist at the University College London and the University of Geneva in Switzerland.
Susan Moring received the Student Development in Entrepreneurship Award. She graduated summa cum laude from Price College with an entrepreneurship and venture management degree. She currently serves as the program director for the OU Ronnie K. Irani Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth. In this capacity, Moring mentors student teams competing in the annual Love’s Entrepreneurs Cup, advises non-profit consulting students in The Oklahoma Group and curates a far-reaching set of student, faculty and community speakers each January at TedX OU.
Beyond OU, Moring serves as an organizer for 1 Million Cups. She also is a certified Startup Weekend facilitator, and each week helps identify and coach entrepreneurs as part of a national platform initiated by the Kaufman Foundation. One of her most significant contributions has been to sustain and grow the OK Coders program – the only short term developer boot camp in Oklahoma. To date, 200 community participants have been through the OK Coders program in OKC and Tulsa.