GRAND RAPIDS –Potential new drugs that could bring health to tens of thousands of kidney patients, cure osteoporosis and advance the battle against cancer were featured Wednesday on the second day of MichBio Expo, the annual meeting of the state’s biosciences business community.

Upwards of 500 people are expected at the annual event, being held this year at the DeVos Place convention center in downtown Grand Rapids.

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Thursday, leaders of startups in pharmaceuticals, medical devices and the bioeconomy, as well as the venture funding sources that back them and the professionals who serve them, will meet for industry sessions and networking.

The first day of the event, Tuesday, featured a career orientation session for students.

Wednesday, the major activity was the Fifth Annual Emerging Biosciences Showcase, investor presentations by biotech startups to venture capital sources and others interested in the industry.

Kalamazoo-based Aursos Inc., a company based on Michigan Technological University research, won the showcase award — a package of professional services from Biotechnology Business Consultants LLC, the accounting firm of Doeren Mayhew, the law firm of Honigman, the product development firm Keystone, the pharmaceutical planning and business devevelopment firm Pharmacision and free membership in MichBio.

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Aursos is developing a drug based on hormones in bears — which hibernate for months without suffering a loss in bone density — to treat osteoporosis and other bone diseases.

Stephen Rapundalo, president and CEO of MichBio, said that the most crucial part of the entire event is probably the industry networking it allows — which leads to new buisness and job formations.

Besides Aursos, companies presenting at the biosciences showcase included:

* DGI Clinical Inc., a Canadian company that provides an outcome measurement tool for anti-dementia drugs in clinical trials. The idea is to identify drugs that don’t work earlier in the testing process.
* NextGen Metobolomics Inc., which is developing software that automatically sorts and identifies biochemicals, as well as a cell culture cample media that labels all biological compounds in a cell to measure change in an orgnaism to see how it is affected by disease, nutrition or the environment.
* JPH Corp. LLC, which is developing a chain mail glove made of gold to treat arthritis in the hands.
* Aursos Inc., a biotech company based on research at Michigan Technological University that is using hormones found in bears — which hibernate for months with no bone loss — to treast osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
* Blaze Medical Devices LLC, which is developing a tabletop blood analyzer to provide quality information on each unit of blood in a blood bank’s inventory.
* H&T Medical solutions, which is developing Mental Note, a cloud-based software product, for psychiatrists to use to document consultations with patients. This company won an honorable mention from the judges in the competition.
* Entos Pharmaceuticals Inc., which is developing technology to make it easier to test potential new drugs by bypassing the cellular membrane.
* ITOS Oncology, which is developing technology to diagnose the gene signatures behind human cancers, which can be used to direct personalized cancer treatment or to test new cancer drugs.
* MitoStem Inc., a Detroit company developing technology that will make the creation of stem cells from adult cells, such as skin and blood, more practical, simple and affordable.
* Breonics Inc., which is developing technology to repair transplantable kidneys damaged by lack of oxygen, allowing previously unusuable organs to be transplanted. The company said its technology could make 80,000 to 100,000 more kidneys available for transplantation per year in the United States alone, vs. the 17,000 kidney transplants actually done a year — saving billions long-term in dialysis costs. This company also won an honorable mention from the judges.

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