Colorado Research Partners Cultivates Future of Fructose Inhibitors

Colorado Research Partners is a pharmaceutical company in the Fitzsimons Innovation Community that brings enthusiasm to curbing the effects of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease using their fructose inhibitor technology. Their aim is a breakthrough in the fields of addiction and nutrition.

CBSA President and CEO, Elyse Blazevich, asked Richard Johnson M.D., CEO of Colorado Research Partners, CBSA’s Key Questions for Life Sciences Innovators.

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Richard Johnson M.D., CEO, Colorado Research Partners

Q: Tell us about your company or organization.

A: CRP LLC is developing inhibitors of sugar metabolism, and specifically fructose metabolism. Fructose is a sugar that is a component of table sugar and of high fructose corn syrup and is a major food in the western diet. The body can also make fructose in response to high glycemic carbohydrates or salty foods.

We and others have shown that ingestion of fructose has a major role in driving nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, as well as features of the metabolic syndrome. Blocking fructose metabolism can mitigate these effects in animals. We are developing fructose inhibitors for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver.

CRP has also found that fructose inhibitors block the craving of both sugar and alcohol, and so we are also developing these drugs to support addiction management.

Q: Describe your team culture. How does your culture shape what your company or organization produces or offers?

A: Our company consists of a small group of scientists, chemists, and investors with much of our funding coming from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The company is characterized by high energy with frequent get-togethers via zoom or in person, and a strong work ethic. There is a lot of enthusiasm in our group. Dr. Johnson also has a new book that tells of the discoveries made by the scientists and about the future of fructose inhibitors — it is called Nature Wants Us to Be Fat and is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Audible, and other outlets.

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: We continue to work on developing small drug inhibitors for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and alcohol use disorder.

Q: How will your work save or change lives?

A: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is currently the major cause of liver failure, and our drug will be effective at preventing and treating this condition. The development of a drug to block sugar and alcohol addiction would also represent a breakthrough in the fields of addiction and nutrition.

Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your company or organization?

A: Like everyone, our group was slowed down, but remained productive overall and are on target to get a drug through the FDA for a clinical trial by the end of 2023.

Q: CBSA champions a collaborative life sciences ecosystem because we are #strongertogether. How has being an active participant in our life sciences community supported your success?

A: We have had some beautiful interactions with other companies in the Fitzsimons Innovation Community Bioscience 2 building complex.

Fitzsimons Innovation Community is next to our research laboratories at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and provides an easy way to interact with many of our research scientists who are still employed by the University.

Fitzsimons Innovation Community Bioscience 2 building complex.

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