West Michigan start-up drug developer hires CEO, predicts 5 new research jobs in next 12 months

The continued success of a West Michigan drug development venture has prompted the company to bring on its first chief executive officer. Company leaders also expect to establish five research and development jobs in the next six to 12 months.

Metabolic Solutions Development Company
(MSDC) operates a laboratory in Kalamazoo and an office in Grand Rapids. The company's successful clinical trials include a Phase 2A study of a diabetes drug that holds promise for not creating the typical side effects of current drug treatments: weight gain, high blood pressure and a condition that leads to edema.

MSDC's new CEO, Robert A. Beardsley, Ph.D., served as president and chief executive officer of St. Louis, Missouri-based Kereos, Inc., where he managed collaborations with national healthcare organizations and top academic partners.
"The company has generated a lot of activity and a lot of promise," says Mark Olesnavage, former acting CEO and president of Hopen Therapeutics, MSDC's lead investor. "We've almost tripled the size of our Kalamazoo lab and we have a lot more moving parts and a lot going on that demands the attention of a fulltime leader."

Since its founding in 2006, MSDC has grown from two researchers to four and has built collaborations with several leading research entities, including the University of California-San Diego. Combined, those collaborators have dedicated a total of 10 researchers to MSDC's work.
"Our goal was not to hire an army of talented people, but outsourcing a lot of different aspects of the firm," Olesnavage says. "In the next six to 12 months we'll be adding employees selectively, about five jobs, which will all be primarily folks that have experience in new drug development."

In the meantime, MSDC plans to conduct Phase 2B trials over the next 18 months, beginning in early 2010. That study includes diabetic participants in the United States and India.

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

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Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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