Osteoporosis is one of the most common bone diseases in the developed world. Fractures from osteoporosis are more common than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined. The overall yearly cost to Canada's healthcare system from treating osteoporosis and the fractures it causes was over $2.3 billion as of 2010 (includes acute care costs, outpatient care, prescription drugs and indirect costs). The total rises when a proportion of Canadians were assumed to be living in long-term care facilities because of osteoporosis. (The burden of illness of osteoporosis in Canada, Tarride et al, Osteoporosis International March 2012).
Hope through research
UAlberta researcher Michael Doschak
and graduate student Krishna Bhandari modified the natural hormone calcitonin (a current osteoporosis treatment) to make it directly bone-seeking after administration. Lab tests show the modified hormone is significantly outperforming current commercial formulations of calcitonin.
Moving the research findings from lab to market and society
To apply their research findings to develop a usable product for people, Doschak and Bhandari engaged TEC Edmonton technology transfer team. The team helped Doschak’s team file a patent application, secure funding for research and development and create spin-off company Osteo-Metabolix Pharmaceuticals Inc.
(OMX). TEC Edmonton also helped OMX develop a business plan so they could generate revenue immediately.
OMX is now developing, formulating and evaluating biologic bone-targeting drug compounds that coat bones immediately after administration. These new drugs could be used to help threat patients with osteoporosis, Paget’s disease and osteoarthritis.