9th Annual OVALS life sciences conference explores startups and the innovation ecosystem

Innovation in the world of life sciences is becoming increasingly fast-paced and complicated, especially for startups trying to launch their first product or device.

This year's regional Ohio Valley Affiliates for Life Sciences, or OVALS, conference will offer two days packed with information on navigating the rules and regulations of commercialization as well as creating a community of innovation.

OVALS launched in 2002 at the University of Cincinnati to connect the region's major research and medical universities. It started with just a few partners and has grown over the years, and includes The University of Louisville, Air Force Research Laboratory, CincyTechUSA and Ohio University.

"This is a content-based program so we'll offer the latest and most up-to-date information in the life sciences industry. It's also a very nice, major networking event. We have the kind of mix in backgrounds that it really takes to have a vibrant life sciences community," said Dorothy Air, OVALS chair and VP for entrepreneurial affairs in the Office of Entrepreneurial Affairs and Technology Commercialization at UC. 

This year's theme is: Startups & the Innovation Ecosystem. A New Model for Economic Development: Building an Engaging System to Get Innovations into the Marketplace. Scheduled speakers include University of Kentucky Professor, Lee Todd, who will talk about contributions of universities to innovation, and members of the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center of the Cleveland Clinic who will outline elements of good clinical study design. Other scheduled sessions include: Changes in FDA Paths and Navigating Through the Process and Proof of Concept: What it Means in Industry and Academia.

The conference is the organization's signature event and brings together researchers, attorneys, entrepreneurs, investors and innovators. The annual conference's home rotates between Ohio and Kentucky and will be in Cincinnati this year. In addition to gathering for the annual event, OVALS' affiliates share resources and equipment that make the Ohio and Kentucky life sciences community stronger, Air added.

About 125 people are expected to attend the conference on April 14 and 15. It will be at the Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center at UC. Registration fees range from $50 for students to $150. You can find out more about the conference here.

"By the end of the conference (attendees) will have a greater understanding what it takes to get a product to market, and they will have found some key individuals to network with who can be valuable as they go forward," Air said.

Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: Dorothy Air, OVALS chair and VP for entrepreneurial affairs in the Office of Entrepreneurial Affairs and Technology Commercialization at UC

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