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Officials: Diabetes Breakthrough Shows Value Of Life Science Incubators

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The Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, run by Southwest Michigan First.

The Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, run by Southwest Michigan First.

(credit: istock) Technology Report
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KALAMAZOO — Breakthrough research by Metabolic Solutions Development Co., including data published Wednesday on a new drug target for type 2 diabetes, underscores the key role a quality life sciences incubator can play, according to southwest Michigan life science leaders.

At laboratories located in the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, Metabolic Solutions Development Co. has been investigating potential treatments for diabetes involving new kinds of insulin sensitizers that do not cause the side effects of previous forms. Data was published Wednesday in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

MSDC contracted with Launch MI Lab to help define the proteins involved and their mechanism of action. Also based at SMIC, Launch MI Lab supports companies by providing specialized lab instrumentation, including mass spectrometry, for proteomics, metabolomics and bioanalytical quantitative analysis. The lab was created with funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and other sources.

“Being able to access mass spec expertise and services, literally across the hall from our labs, was key to advancing this important scientific work,” said Stephen Benoit, CEO of MSDC.

Greg Cavey, Lab Manager for Launch MI Lab, said if not for his facility, MSDC would have had to send this work out of the region, costing time, money and personal interaction.

“Instead, MSDC was able to run experiments during the day based on data we generated for them the night before,” Cavey said.

Such support demonstrates the value of a life science incubator that provides the essential services, expertise and facilities, said SMIC President and CEO Robert DeWit, Ph.D.

“This is how it was meant to be — having the right scientific knowledge and capabilities here at just the right time,” DeWit said. “We’re thrilled for MSDC, we applaud their talented scientists, and we’re pleased to have played a supportive role in their success.”

Created in 2003, the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center is a 69,000-square-foot incubator and accelerator providing a comprehensive range of facilities and support to nurture the formation, survival and growth of innovative life science businesses.

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