BiologicsMD Signs Deal to Make Its Osteoporosis Treatment

Fayetteville drug development startup BiologicsMD announced on Tuesday a partnership with an Oklahoma firm that will make the company's osteoporosis treatment.

BioMD, which has developed what it considers a breakthrough treatment for the disease called PTH-CBD, has contracted with Cytovance Biologics of Oklahoma City to develop a manufacturing platform for the drug.

In addition, the firm has welcomed its newest board member, Ensysce Biosciences CEO Lynn Kirkpatrick, to help guide it through the Food and Drug Administration approval process.

"We are excited to announce our partnership with Cytovance to develop the manufacturing platform for our PTH-CBD treatment," BioMD President Paul Mlakar said in a news release. "Their expertise will play a key role in accelerating the development of this compound that will hopefully improve the lives of the millions of individuals who suffer from osteoporosis."

The partnership will enable BioMD to conduct Phase 1 studies of the drug, which company officials say provides five times the efficacy of available treatments with fewer side effects. 

The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 55 percent of Americans over the age of 50 have osteoporosis, with the cost to treat osteoporosis-related fractures expected to exceed $25 billion annually by 2025.

On the Board

The announcement comes as BioMD welcomes Kirkpatrick to its board. Mlakar said BioMD's rapid progress over the last two years made it necessary to bring aboard someone with experience in taking a drug company through the FDA approval process.

Kirkpatrick, with more than 30 years of experience in cancer drug discovery and development, was the right fit, he said.

BioMD's ascent has included successful runs in numerous business-plan competitions as a University of Arkansas startup (it won more than $600,000 in cash prizes in the year after its 2010 founding), closing its seed funding round, executing a $2.3 million research grant from the Department of Defense, moving into its own lab space, hiring full-time employees and now contracting with Cytovance for production of its product.

"We are very fortunate that BiologicsMD has met all of our projected milestones," Mlakar said.

BiologicsMD, located in the Arkansas Research & Technology Park, is a portfolio company of Fayetteville's Virtual Incubation Co., and a client firm of Innovate Arkansas and the Arkansas Science & Technology Authority.