28 Jul Deltanoid named to top-15 list of biotech companies
Biochemistry 1998 Addition Source: BioChem UW-Madison
MADISON—Milk isn’t always enough for strong bones. Approximately 44 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis, which leads to light and fragile bones, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, and there is no cure—yet.
But Deltanoid Pharmeceuticals, a Madison-based startup founded by University of Wisconsin-Madison medical researcher Hector F. DeLuca, is gaining steam in its attempt to develop a way to rebuild bone. It has already licensed an osteoporosis compound to Pfizer and could net up to $42 million from the deal if it meets its development milestones.
Wednesday, Deltanoid showed up on the Fierce 15, a list of up-and-coming biotech companies published by Fierce Biotech, an online newsletter covering the industry.
“Deltanoid has proven its skill in designing and conducting early-stage clinical trials to identify promising candidates and has the proven ability to create valuable alliances with larger pharmaceutical firms,” DeLuca said. “Being named a member of The Fierce 15 is a wonderful acknowledgement of Deltanoid’s growing contribution toward the treatment of disease and resulting prominence in the biotech industry.”
Deltanoid joins an international selection of biotech companies—five of them from Massachusetts—on the list. Prospects include treatments for HIV and cancer, implantable electronics that could allow people with disabilities to control computers with their thoughts, and drugs for cystic fibrosis. Deltanoid’s goal of rebuilding bones seems to fit right in: it has the potential to push back the effects of osteoporosis, if clinical testing bears out its promise.
DeLuca, who chairs the Department of Biochemistry at UW-Madison, conducts his research primarily on Vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium, an essential component of bone growth. His discoveries, licensed through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, have brought the university millions and helped it build a new $35.6 million biochemistry building.
According to a Deltanoid statement, the products of his research have been sold worldwide for revenues totalling about $5 billion under brand names such as Alfarol and Zemplar.
FDA approval for the osteoporosis treatment will be many trials and at least several years away, but early-stage testing has started.
Since osteoporosis affects roughly half of people over 50, it is expected to become more common as the baby-boom generation ages. An estimated 80% of those affected are women.