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Madison startup developing drugs based on bones, teeth has new WARF license
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Madison startup developing drugs based on bones, teeth has new WARF license

Anna Clements

Dianomi Therapeutics, 504 S. Rosa Road, is part of the Forward BIO Initiative, a collaboration of UW-Madison, the state's economic development organization and the biohealth industry.

Dianomi Therapeutics, a Madison company spun off from UW-Madison research, has licensed more intellectual property from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the company announced this week.

Located in University Research Park, Dianomi is developing pain medications and other drugs using mineral coated microparticles, which mimic properties in bones and teeth, to make drugs last longer and work more effectively.

Bill Murphy


The technology stems from research by Bill Murphy, a UW-Madison biomedical engineer who is the company's co-founder and chief scientific officer. It is based in part on archaeological studies that showed proteins in fossils could remain stable for centuries if associated with calcium-based minerals.

Dianomi's lead product is a biologic drug for osteoarthritis of the knee, and the company has also worked on a corticosteroid.

The company previously licensed its core technology, the mineral coated microparticles, from WARF, UW-Madison's tech-transfer arm. The new license expands the technology's use to nucleic acid therapy — using DNA or RNA, or related compounds, to modify or enhance the expression of desired genes.

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The microparticle technology, in combination with nucleic acids, has demonstrated "favorable results" in lab and animal studies, the company said in a statement.

“This new suite of intellectual property expands the capability of Dianomi’s core technology into new indications and markets having significant commercial and clinical interest,” said Martin Ostrowski, chief operations officer and general counsel. 

Dianomi said it intends to develop its own internal candidates while pursuing collaborative opportunities in a number of clinical indications, including cardiovascular, rheumatological, oncology, vaccines, regenerative medicine, neuromuscular and spinal degeneration, and general health and well-being.

Dianomi, 504 S. Rosa Road, has 11 employees and consultants. It is part of the Forward BIO Initiative, a collaboration of UW-Madison, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and BioForward Wisconsin. Murphy is chair of the initiative and director of the Forward BIO Institute, established to advance the state’s bioscience and technology industry.

San Diego-based Ligand Pharmaceuticals said it is investing $3 million in Dianomi for a chance to collect 2 percent to 3 percent of royalties from sales of the Dianomi's first five products approved for sale.

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