Company’s supplements and vitamins support cystic fibrosis community
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — “Just yesterday, I had a call from a CF mom,” said Mike Walters, one of three principals of start-up MVW Nutritionals, LLC. “Her son wouldn’t take his vitamin because the manufacturer had changed the flavor. Getting him to take the new vitamin had become a battle.” The frustrated mother contacted a cystic fibrosis care center and was referred to MVW. “Today, a bottle of vitamins is going out the door,” Walters said. He sent a free, one-month supply. “I asked only that she pay the shipping and also asked her to contact me again if her son didn’t like it because there are several other products.”
For Walters, the encounter summarized the culture at MVW. “We care. It’s why we’ve taken this on.”
Vitamins and supplements are very important to the CF community. The disease impedes absorption of protein, fat and calories in an individual’s diet. Those who have CF and other gastrointestinal disorders such as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency cannot adequately absorb vitamins from the foods they consume. Consequently, these individuals benefit from specially formulated supplements.
It’s a market that Walters knows well. In 2001 he founded Source CF, a company addressing needs of CF patients. Source CF was acquired by a global pharmaceuticals company in 2007 and Walters delved into other projects.
However, in 2012, a leading CF dietician approached him. The dietician explained the difficulties faced by patients and families trying to acquire CF-specific vitamins. Repeated contact resulted in a request for help. “The long-time involvement with CF prompted her call,” said Walters, “and the decision to step in was because we still care.”
Throughout the first part of 2013, Walters worked with the FDA and manufacturers to ensure products would meet quality standards for safety and efficacy. The company leadership, to include Melanie Vandiver, operations, and Suzanne Michel, registered dietician, established space at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. The company introduced softgels in July; chewables were introduced in October and pediatric drops are anticipated to be available in early 2014. Additional supplements are being investigated.
According to Walters, demand has far exceeded expectations and vitamin supplements for two additional market segments are under development. “Both segments are small,” said Walters, “and both have a need.”
Media Contact: Beth Pugh
About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to innovating in the field of genomic technology and sciences across a spectrum of biological problems. Its mission is three-fold: sparking scientific discoveries that can impact human health and well-being; fostering biotech entrepreneurship; and encouraging the creation of a genomics-literate workforce and society. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. Designed to be a hothouse of biotech economic development, HudsonAlpha’s state-of-the-art facilities co-locate scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. The relationships formed on the HudsonAlpha campus allow serendipity to yield results in medicine and agriculture. Since opening in 2008, HudsonAlpha, under the leadership of Dr. Richard M. Myers, a key collaborator on the Human Genome Project, has built a name for itself in genetics and genomics research and biotech education, and boasts 26 biotech companies on campus.