From the Caves of Michigan’s Sleeping Bears Comes Kalamazoo’s Aursos, and a Possible New Drug for Osteoporosis
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Pfizer or Lilly or a big company like that and take this into the big market, which is really post-menopausal osteoporosis.”
He predicts clinical trials in two years and says that the Muscular Dystrophy Association is “very intrigued by what we’re doing.”
“I think when we treat these kids with muscular dystrophy, not only are we going to see their bones get stronger, but we’re going to see muscles improve,” Shebuski says, basing the prediction on experiments with mice.
Ultimately, he says, he wants Aursos to get in on the growing osteoporosis market, which he says is forecast to be nearly $14 billion by 2014. Currently, there is only one treatment available that is able to stimulate bone growth—Forteo by Eli Lilly, which saw worldwide sales of $411 million with a growth rate of 21 percent from January to September of 2007.
The company is also partnering with Proteos, another Kalamazoo-based biotech company. The two companies recently received a $1.1 million NIH grant to manufacture BB-PTH 1-84. And, as of the first of the year, Aursos’ new president and CEO is Gary Stroy, who had successfully guided Afmedica’s sale to Angiotech. That experience was such a success, Shebuski is assembling much the same team for Aursos.
Shebuski is confident in the technology and believes the funding will come. Meanwhile, he does his circuit between a home in Virginia, the office in Kalamazoo, and his place in the U.P., where he occasionally hunts black bear. He’s only killed two, and they’re both mounted for guests to see.
“People say bear meat’s terrible, but that’s because a lot of guys, when they get a bear, they throw it on their cars and drive it around and show it to everybody.”
No, you have to eat bear meat right away to enjoy the taste, he says. It will take a little longer, though, to take advantage of the animal’s parathyroid hormone.