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Innovation & Job News

Grand Rapids pharmaceutical company invests $125M to develop alternative diabetes treatment

By: Deborah Johnson Wood

It could cost Metabolic Solutions Development Company some $125 million to bring an alternative diabetes drug to market, but that’s not stopping company researchers. Located at 3133 Orchard Vista Dr. in Grand Rapids, the company is in the end stages of Phase 2A clinical studies involving diabetic patients.

The new treatment, an alternative drug as yet unnamed, may help Type 2 diabetics control their blood glucose levels without producing the harmful side effects caused by Actos and Avandia, drugs currently on the market. Those side effects include weight gain, high blood pressure and a condition that leads to edema.

“Type II diabetes is a very complicated disease, but most patients ultimately die from cardiovascular disease,” says Mark Olesnavage, CEO. “Weight gain, high blood pressure and edema can increase those risks.

“We believe that this is the first time a West Michigan company has come up with a new drug compound that’s in Phase 2 clinical trials,” he notes. “After Upjohn pulled out of the state, there is no one doing drug development, and we are a little startup that’s already undertaking the trials.”

Dr. Jerry Colca, a company founder, led an Upjohn research team that developed Actos.

“Dr. Colca has intimate knowledge of these drugs,” Olesnavage says. “His hope and belief is that this drug therapy will be safe, but we have to prove that in clinical trials.”

Phase 2A trials enlisted 80 patients from West Michigan and nine other locations nationwide. Each patient participated for one month. The final results will be compiled within the next couple of months.

All told, it will be several years and several more studies before the drug might hit the market. In the meantime, Metabolic is busy developing the next generation of the drug to test right behind this one.

Source: Mark Olesnavage, Metabolic Solutions Development Company; Nick Wasmiller, Seyferth & Associates

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

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