Approaching retirement after 36 years at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Leonard Kohn decided he wasn't quite finished with his goal to improve life for people suffering from tough-to-treat diseases.
That's why he founded Interthyr Corporation
in Athens to develop tests and medicines for endocrine diseases, autoimmune-inflammatory diseases and cancer. The company got its start with a $900,000 Ohio Technology Action Fund grant. He moved from Maryland to Athens, Ohio to set up a research laboratory at Ohio University
. There he continued the work he'd started at a nonprofit research foundation he helped start in Maryland.
"I had reached the possibility of retirement at NIH, and wanted to do something useful in terms of development of a product for translational medicine," or turning research into something that could make a difference in patient's lives, Kohn said. "I decided the Edison Biotechnology Institute and the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine afforded me an opportunity to pursue those goals."
Interthyr Corporation specializes in research related to dozens of endocrine and autoimmune-inflammatory diseases including diabetes, Graves' Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, as well as cancer. The company is also conducting research in certain equine diseases.
In 2008, the nine-person company moved to the Ohio University Innovation Center
Interthyr Corporation, along with Athens-based Diagnostic Hybrids
, recently developed Thyretian, which detects the underlying cause of hyperthyroidism directly linked to Graves' disease.
"(Thyretian) is a gold standard, and is commercialized within the United States and now moving abroad," Kohn said.
The company's work has drawn a $2.6 million grant to develop a new drug that could treat pancreatic cancer and autoimmune diseases.Source: Leonard Kohn, Interthyr Corp.
Writer: Feoshia Henderson
You can follow Feoshia on Twitter @feoshiawrites