The College of Health Sciencesí cutting-edge research got one step closer to the marketplace this year when Dr. Behnam Ghasemzadeh, associate professor of biomedical sciences, along with Dr. Dan Sem from the Department of Chemistry, founded AviMed Pharmaceuticals. Itís the second year in a row for a company to spring from CHS labs: Last year, Drs. David Baker and John Mantsch, also associate professors of biomedical sciences, founded Promentis Pharmaceuticals.
Promentis is working on novel treatments for schizophrenia and other central nervous system conditions, while the AviMed team is developing molecules and proprietary technology to repurpose existing drugs to treat schizophrenia. This summer AviMed placed second in the life sciences category of the statewide Governorís Business Plan Competition. Both companies are targeting a critical issue: Schizophrenia is a neurological disease that affects 2.4 million people in the U.S. Current medications treat only some symptoms and have significant side effects, and as a result, 70 percent of patients stop taking medications after 18 months.