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Hiring Hoosiers: Purdue startup works to unlock medical mysteries

Hiring Hoosiers
Posted at 7:30 AM, Apr 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-26 07:30:03-04

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WEST LAFAYETTE — There is a constant search to find new medicines to combat human diseases afflicting millions across the globe and new treatments to improve people’s health.

Among them is an injectable drug to cut the time it takes to heal from bone fractures.

Philip and Stewart Low and their team developed Novosteo now in clinical trials. It will benefit people who would face a possible hospital bill in the thousands to recover from their injuries.

"I just find solving problems extremely interesting there's never a dull moment when I come in the lab each day and a half dozen new problems to solve," Philip Low said. "I eventually developed a desire to do something that really mattered to leave a footprint on this planet and I found that opportunity in developing drugs to treat human diseases."

While they work daily on the next generation of medicines, they believe to be successful in this space or any other career people need to ask questions and develop a plan to resolve the challenge no matter where they work.

In a field where change is constant and dynamic, unlocking the next medical mystery requires a workforce with a diverse background.

"I think that students as they go through school if they get the opportunity to get internships in areas that are not their focus, if they take opportunities to take classes in other areas they see the world from a different point of view and when you see the world from a different point of you all of the sudden these questions start popping up — this group is always asked this question and I have a solution for that from my area and I think that that's where you get real innovation,” Stewart Low said.

He believes that’s what keeps his lab on a forward thinking trajectory.

“We get together and have brainstorming sessions and talk about a lot of different ideas and generally speaking when we get good minds together we can come up with some really big solutions," Stewart Low said. "We have not only been looking at bone fracture repairs but we've also been looking at osteoporosis and drugs to deal with bone-related cancers.”

The Lows received a grant for $1.7 million dollars from the National Institutes of Health to fast track their Novosteo. It is one of many projects that have left the lab.

“We've been able to do this for a wide variety of different diseases including cancer auto immune diseases, infectious diseases like malaria, viral infections, inherited diseases like sickle cell disease, CNS diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's and so forth," Philip Low said. "As a consequence we've been able to develop drugs that have gone into human clinical trials to treat these diseases. I have found six different companies focused on developing these drugs and bringing them to the public for their use. They’re all successful and they're all in the process of improving the health of the American public.”

They hope the good work happening in labs across Purdue University and in Tippecanoe County will help make grow biotechnology companies and startups in the region.

“One of the things we really hope with this that this brings recognition to this area," Stewart Low said. "I think we have a lot of great opportunities and if those opportunities can happen in the middle of the country that it's not just the coasts where great bio tech happens. We have some really solid science.”

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