Okay, first things first. I typed oligonucleotide into Google and the first hit, of course, is Wikipedia. Their explanation is: A short segment of RNA or DNA, typically with twenty or fewer bases. Blah, blah, blah.* Okay, so I have the basic idea. It doesn't do much for me and I don't care, but I have the basic idea. Then I went straight to the horse's mouth - the people giving the meeting. I hunted for awhile and came up with this (in this case, I interpret "therapeutics" to mean "medicine". Why do they refuse to use English? Okay, it's English, but you know what I mean):
Imagine an entirely new class of therapeutics, made from just four chemically similar building blocks, strung into chains twenty or so building blocks long. Imagine that just by changing the arrangement of the four building blocks you could make a host of different therapeutic compounds. With one sequence, you could make a drug for knocking down production of a secreted protein involved in heart disease. Using the same blocks in a different array you could shut down a mitochondrial protein that prevents cancer cells from committing suicide. And so forth.
So that's still pretty dense, but at least now I have an idea of why someone would be excited about this. Because they say, "Gobbledy gook yadda blah" and I hear, "We can cure cancer." Now that's something to get excited about.
*Okay, actually it says: