BiologicsMD of Fayetteville Gets $2.3 Million Contract

A Fayetteville-based start-up that won more than $600,000 last year in cash, in-kind awards and investments has been awarded a $2.3 million research contract from the U.S. Department of Defense.

BiologicsMD is a drug development company that first garnered attention for its performance at numerous student business plan competitions last year. It since has partnered with Virtual Incubation Co. to develop a new prescription osteoporosis medication called PTH-CBD.

"BiologicsMD is an example of the extraordinary talent at the University of Arkansas," said Carol Reeves, the professor who served as an advisor in the competitions. "They have the rare combination of deep science knowledge, business acumen and the work ethic to make their company a reality."

According to a news release, BiologicsMD's medication promises three times the efficacy of available bisphosphonate treatments with fewer side effects. The Department of Defense peer-reviewed medical research program of the Office of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs received more than 600 applications, and fewer than 10 percent were recommended for funding.

Funds from the contract will be used to develop the manufacturing platform for PTH-CBD, which is trademarked, according to the release. The next step is for BiologicsMD to complete toxicology testing and conduct a Phase I study in patients with osteoporosis according to FDA requirements.

BiologicsMD's goal is to develop the product through a Phase I human clinical trial and then sub-license it to a major pharmaceutical company to conduct large safety and efficacy trials, obtain FDA approval, and begin marketing to osteoporosis patients.

"This approval process provides validation for the science behind a compound that could help millions by improving quality of life and saving lives," CEO Paul Mlakar said in the release.

The medication is based on the work of UA chemistry and biochemistry professor Joshua Sakon.