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Boston firm acquires ABQ biotech startup

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A local startup with a novel drug to generate insulin-producing cells in diabetes patients has joined forces with a Boston-based company.

Boston Therapeutics Inc. on Tuesday morning announced acquisition of CureDM, an Albuquerque firm headed by Lori Upham, former executive director of the ABQid business accelerator.

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CureDM CEO Lori Upham at the Bioscience Center in Uptown Albuquerque. (Courtesy of CureDM)

Upham launched CureDM with colleagues in Philadelphia in 2004 to develop a new peptide, HIP2B, that can stimulate creation of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The company has invested nearly $20 million over 14 years through private investment, grants and a previous partnership with the multinational pharmaceutical firm Sanofi.

Boston Therapeutics is a penny stock company traded on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board that’s developing its own drug, a chewable treatment to slow or block sugar absorption in a patient’s digestive system. That company, currently valued at about $3 million, is awarding 50 percent of its stock to CureDM’s 59 shareholders through the acquisition, Upham said.

“We are very excited to be joining forces with Boston Therapeutics and look forward to leveraging the many synergies that exist between us,” Upham said.

As a publicly-traded company, Boston Therapeutics provides critical access to capital needed for HIP2B clinical trials, Upham added. And, through Boston Therapeutics’ partnership with a development group in China, it also provides manufacturing capabilities and access to Asian markets.

Boston Therapeutics CEO Carl W. Rausch said the acquisition means attacking diabetes before and after the disease develops through a treatment to prevent sugar absorption in pre-diabetic patients, plus a drug to generate insulin-producing cells in people who already have it.

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Boston Therapeutics\’ SugarDown slows or blocks sugar absoption in the digestive system, while CureDM\’s HIP2B is an injectible peptide that stimulates insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. (Courtesy of CureDM)

“We are establishing our company and its alliance partners in Asia as one that is changing the way diabetes is treated,” Rausch said in a statement. “The HIP2B peptide is a game changing compound that will fit strategically into our portfolio.”

Boston Therapeutics is based in Lawrence, Mass., but Upham hopes to persuade the company to relocate its U.S. headquarters to Albuquerque.

CureDM, which is headquartered in Delaware, operates out of the Bioscience Center in Uptown Albuquerque, where Upham will continue working as chief operating officer for Boston Therapeutics.

“I’ll remain in Albuquerque and work to drive both diabetes projects forward,” Upham said. “I hope to build a new team here to do that.”

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