Milwaukee, Wis. – Loren Peterson, president and CEO of ZyStor Therapeutics, Inc. is looking forward to showcasing his Milwaukee company for attendees of this year’s Midwestern bioscience forum.
As a presenter at the conference, Peterson will represent Wisconsin biotechnology companies with another presenter, Dr. Irene Hrusovsky, CEO of Madison-based EraGen Biosciences, a developer of molecular diagnostic products.
Like many of the attendees, Peterson is interested in the networking opportunities the conference affords.
“All of the venture capital funds that have funded us in the past or potentially would fund us in the future will be there. And also it’s a great opportunity to network with other companies that are in the same stage of development,” Peterson said.
“We’re not immediately looking for venture capital but, as a lot of early stage biotechnology companies, you’re never too far away from your next round of funding,” he added. “So keeping the story fresh in all the venture capitalists’ minds is usually a good thing to do.”
Peterson will blend background information about his company with updated information on the status of its development programs.
ZyStor is developing an improved therapeutic for enzyme replacement for patients who suffer from very rare genetic disorders known as lysosomal storage disorders.
A lysosome is a cell compartment containing enzymes that digest particles and that disintegrate the cell after its death. Lysosomal storage diseases are a group of approximately 50 rare disorders, most of which are progressive and life threatening. Taken together, these disorders are estimated to affect 1 in 7,700 live births.
“Our intellectual property surrounds a way of attaching a peptide tag to these enzymes – to better target receptors on cell surfaces on clinically significant tissues – so that it can get into the lysosome of the cell, where it can then reduce the storage material that builds up in patients,” Peterson explained.
ZyStor is in preclinical development of three different therapeutic programs for three distinct lysosomal storage diseases. Its lead program is conducting animal studies for the treatment of Pompe Disease at the University of Florida.
Second, ZyStor is doing animal studies in collaboration with St. Louis University for a therapeutic treatment of Fabry Disease. Third, the company is in the early stages of developing therapeutic for the treatment of Gaucher Disease in its Milwaukee laboratories.
Because the company is in its preclinical phase, it is still several years away from commercialization. After the animal studies, ZyStor will have to put together an investigational drug application, file it with the U. S. Food and Drug Administration, and then proceed through clinical trials.