A drug discovery startup called Pantherics Incorporated is developing a pill-based alternative to current asthma treatments based on research conducted at UW-Milwaukee.

Doug Stafford, the company’s president and CEO, says his business is the first to develop drugs that affect a well-known target outside of the brain and central nervous system. He presented for WARF Innovation Day, held this week in Madison.

“We’ve shown extensively in animal models… that our drug can do two things we want it to: reduce inflammation and reduce bronchospasms,” Stafford said. “The drug opens the airway that’s closed due to inflammation-induced muscle constriction.”

Pantherics is broadly developing treatments for inflammatory diseases of smooth muscle, starting with asthma. This disease affects around 14 percent of the world’s population, but Stafford explains many other conditions have a similar mechanism. That includes diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and bladder, the heart and other parts of the body.  Read the full story here.