MON AM News: Dianomi Therapeutics expanding drug delivery system; Baldwin says border wall funding transfer hurts Wisconsin manufacturers

— Dianomi Therapeutics is expanding the use of its patented drug delivery system to include gene therapies.

This comes after licensing a second set of intellectual property from WARF. 

The Madison-based startup is developing a technology known as mineral-coated microparticles, which can “stabilize and control” the release of therapeutic drugs and improve their effect. A release shows the MCM technology shares a capacity for biological molecule storage with human bones and teeth. 

The MCM technology was developed by UW-Madison’s William Murphy, a professor of biomedical engineering and co-founder of Dianomi. He created the technology in hopes of improving upon artificial polymer-based drug delivery systems, which have more limited function. 

“Dianomi has demonstrated success in developing and optimizing MCM delivery for biologics and other small molecules,” Murphy said in a release. “I look forward to Dianomi’s expansion into the area of nucleic acid therapy, building upon the early results of our nucleic acid delivery in regenerative medicine applications.” 

Researchers have demonstrated “favorable results” with the MCM technology combined with nucleic acids, the release shows. Early animal studies have shown improvement in the delivery of these genetic materials, “promising a potentially potent and sustained therapeutic effect.” 

See more: 

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin says the Trump administration’s move to transfer $3.8 billion from the U.S. Department of Defense to help fund the southern border wall will hurt Wisconsin manufacturers. 

According to a release from the Madison Dem, $101 million of that figure was previously appropriated for Oshkosh Defense to build vehicles for the Army. And she says another $650 million was set aside for a new Navy ship for which Fairbanks Morse in Beloit would have manufactured new engines. 

“President Trump promised the people of Wisconsin that Mexico would pay for his border wall, and now he is making American taxpayers fund it,” Baldwin said. “Wisconsin manufacturers strengthen our national defense and create jobs, but Trump is taking funding away from our economy and the workers that build it.” 

Baldwin and eight other Dem senators protested the transfer in a recent letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper. 

See the letter: 

See the release: 

— Snap bean farmers in Wisconsin accounted for 38 percent of the nation’s production in 2019, according to a recent release from the USDA. 

Around 6.22 million hundredweight of snap beans were harvested from 63,500 acres in Wisconsin last year, more than any other state. U.S. snap bean production last year was 16.6 million hundredweight. 

Meanwhile, sweet corn production in the state was third highest among U.S. states in 2019, with 8.65 million hundredweight harvested from 49,400 acres. Sweet corn production nationwide was 63 million hundredweight. 

Farmers in the state also produced 1.09 million hundredweight of green peas last year, accounting for just over one-third of total U.S. production.

See the release:

— The Assembly plans to vote Tuesday on legislation that would establish new regulations for pharmacy benefit managers. 

The bill cleared an Assembly committee with no opposition last week, and the Wisconsin Pharmacy Patient Protection Coalition is calling on lawmakers to support the legislation. Public testimony on the bill was also heard last week in a Senate committee. 

Rob Gundermann, chair of the WPPPC and president and CEO of the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging and Health Groups, calls the committee’s passage “a huge step forward” for patients and pharmacists in the state. 

PBMs act as middlemen between drug manufacturers and pharmacies and negotiate prices. Gundermann charges the PBM process “is secretive and drives up prescription costs.” 

The bill aims to establish new requirements for price transparency and eliminate gag clause provisions in PBM contracts, among other changes. Sponsors include: Reps. Michael Schraa, R-Oshkosh, and Debra Kolste, D-Janesville; and Sens. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, and Roger Roth, R-Appleton. 

Through the WPPPC, the legislation has the support of Wisconsin-based Hometown Pharmacy, the Wisconsin Medical Society, the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health, the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Rheumatology Association, the Wisconsin Association of Osteopathic Physicians & Surgeons and other groups. 

See the bill text: 

— A collaborative data science effort backed by Northwestern Mutual will study overdose rates in Milwaukee in hopes of addressing the ongoing opioid epidemic. 

The Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute is a partnership with UW-Milwaukee and Marquette University that will contribute $40 million over five years to develop southeastern Wisconsin’s technology ecosystem. 

Aside from addressing opioids with local health data, another research project for the institute will partner with a nonprofit called Walnut Way to study housing trends in Milwaukee’s struggling Lindsay Heights neighborhood. The Walnut Way Data Dream Project will focus on equitable housing and displacement using decades of available data. 

A third research project will pull from numerous data sources to explore issues of importance for the 2020 elections. 

“We’ll be able to see if there is a match between what voters are talking about online and what they report in public opinion polls, as well as examine how the electorate is responding to candidates’ political messaging,” said Amber Wichowsky, associate professor of political science at Marquette University. 

See the release:

— In a recent blog post, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma knocked “alarmist estimates” about potential impacts of a proposed federal rule change as “overblown and without credibility.” 

Her response comes as hospital groups and state Medicaid directors from across the country are criticizing the proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation, arguing it would reduce program funding, create uncertainty around the program and place an undue reporting burden on states. 

Both the Wisconsin Hospital Association and State Medicaid Director Jim Jones have expressed similar concerns about the proposed rule. In a recent statement, WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding said the rule would “adversely affect” the state’s Medicaid budget. 

But Verma argues the rule isn’t intended to reduce Medicaid payments, as some groups have said. In her letter, she says more than 4,000 comments have been submitted on the proposed rule since November. 

“We will remain conscious of those operational concerns as we consider final rulemaking and work with states to potentially transition problematic arrangements into clearly permissible ones,” Verma wrote. 

See the statement: 

See an earlier story on the proposed rule: 


# Report: Milwaukee ranks 46th for best U.S. cities for women in tech

# Transforming a neighborhood: Developers, brokers stir national names into 3rd Ward’s mix

# Madison-based Exact Sciences acquiring 2 more diagnostics companies

# Wisconsin Republicans propose $250 million income tax cut



– Animal rights activist’s new purpose is helping factory farmers

– USDA announces risk management programs for hemp growers

– Fed survey indicates Wisconsin farmland values fell in 2019


– Milwaukee Rep plans expansion, renovation of downtown theater complex

– After delay, UW officials hope to open ‘Nick’ recreation center by fall semester

– Balestrieri sues Ashwaubenon over $300K in unpaid arena work


– Gender discrimination complaint filed against UW-Eau Claire administrator

– State FFA members to take part in NextGen conference

– A student center like none other for Beloit College


– Wisconsin high court approves Kohler golf course annexation


– Evolve Brands goes national with Supernola in Walgreens

– Mississippi unveils job count, pay and incentives for Milwaukee Tool expansion


– MSO’s performance hall name to honor Bradley family’s $52M in donations


– Late bar-closing time during DNC survives committee, heads to full Assembly

– Republicans unveil proposed income tax cut

– ‘Wedding barn’ provision dropped from tavern bill


– Zilber planning two spec industrial buildings in Pleasant Prairie


– WisDOT to hit pause on work during DNC


– Analyst: Kohl’s layoffs necessary after 2019 lag


– Molson Coors stays on as Brewers’ beer sponsor


– IDEXX to close Waukesha and Marshfield facilities


– Farmers likely to benefit from Port Milwaukee funding


– John Nichols: Trump’s fund grab robs Wisconsin


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