• WisBusiness

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

 7:13 AM 

Team effort leads to new vitamin D company

By Mike Flaherty

A new Wisconsin company announced Monday that it will soon be capitalizing on one of the University of Wisconsin’s most successful commercial biotechnology discoveries.

Vitamin D.

D3 for Me, a new company based in Eau Claire, announced Monday at BIO International that it is ready to start manufacturing and selling a “vitamin D’’ patch that will be able to deliver the vitamin to more than 4 million people around the country who currently cannot absorb the vitamin orally, including many senior citizens and cystic fibrosis patients.

“There’s nothing like this on the market,’’ said Ted Schwarzrock, the president and COO of D3 for Me. Based on the number of people who could benefit from this new product, he said, “This could be a $4 billion market.’’

The small company has already begun the process of manufacturing, packaging and marketing the product with sales to begin as early as this fall, Schwarzrock said.

The company’s genesis is in part the result of an enormous team effort that included the Chippewa Valley Technical College, UW Eau Claire, the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, he added.

“These Wisconsin people were incredibly helpful in creating and launching our company. I’ve never seen anything like it,’’ Schwarzrock said during a presentation at the Wisconsin Pavilion at BIO International, the world’s largest gathering of biotechnology researchers, investors, and government officials.

Ninety years ago, Harry Steenbock, a UW-Madison biochemistry researcher discovered Vitamin D, and that the vitamin could prevent – and eliminate – childhood rickets. The lease of that patent to Quaker Oats, which Steenbock turned over to UW-Madison, became the foundation for the University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation which today funds more than $45 million in UW research every year.

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