Wauwatosa medicine startup RPRD partners with Korean firm

Trade mission brings companies together

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:08 pm

Wauwatosa-based precision medicine company RPRD Diagnostics LLC has formed a strategic partnership with South Korean biotechnology firm Orient Bio Inc. on a trade mission to Korea.

RPRD stands for Right Patient Right Drug, and the company focuses on helping doctors find the safest drug for a patient and reduce negative drug reactions. The company, founded in 2016 and led by Dr. Ulrich Broeckel, lead researcher and professor of pediatrics, medicine and physiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, specializes in pharmacogenetics testing.

Orient Bio, founded in 1959, produces and supplies catalog products for the biotechnology industry, including animal models, laboratory supplies and medical equipment. It also provides pre-clinical services for drug development, including genetic testing.

The companies signed a memorandum of understanding Friday in Seoul to expand RPRD’s pharmacogenetics testing services into new markets, and for Orient Bio to diversify into precision medicine and clinical pharmacogenetics, according to Gov. Scott Walker’s office.

“Orient Bio recognizes the value of our next-gen pharmacogenomics testing approach and the opportunity to improve health care in South Korea,” Broeckel said in a statement. “Of particular interest is our recently launched CNT Panel, which is highly relevant for patients of East Asian ethnicity who may receive thiopurine drug treatment, prescribed for patients with leukemia in addition to other diseases.”

“Our company has established a very successful business supplying many products and services to drug development and life science markets, thus the partnership with RPRD Diagnostics allows us to build upon previous success while also extending our business into clinical diagnostics,” said Dr. Jaejin Chang, president and chief executive officer of Orient Bio, in a statement. “Dr. Broeckel and his team are looking ahead to a future where pharmacogenomics testing is part of routine clinical care, and Orient Bio shares that vision.”

Gov. Walker applauded the international partnership.

“This new partnership will not only benefit both companies, but it represents the many opportunities that exist for future collaborations between South Korea and Wisconsin,” said Walker, who oversaw a ceremony in which the companies signed a memorandum of understanding. “More importantly, this joint initiative has the potential to improve health care outcomes, as well as patients’ lives.”

The eight-day trade mission included both Japan and South Korea. In Japan, Walker’s meetings included time with Foxconn leadership and suppliers. Walker and eight Wisconsin companies are on the trip. They also met with 10 South Korean companies that will be participating in an entrepreneurship accelerator in Milwaukee this fall.

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