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Drs. Hunter Jackson and Thomas Parks had been studying the potential medical benefits of spider venom at the University of Utah's School of Medicine when they decided in 1986 to set up their own company in Salt Lake City, NPS Pharmaceuticals, to expand upon this research. NPS is an acronym for "Natural Product Sciences." The company's initial focus on calcium channel blockers led to corporate collaborations in 1987 with Pfizer, Inc. and in 1988 with FMC Corporation.

Although its work with spider venom did not produce viable new drug candidates, the company made significant research progress in other areas that led to a number of key corporate milestones, including:

  • additional venture funding in 1992
  • collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline in 1993 to develop calcilytic compounds to treat osteoporosis
  • successful initial public offering in 1994, agreements with Kyowa Hakko Kirin (previously Kirin Pharma) in 1995 and Amgen in 1996 to develop cinacalcet as a treatment for hyperparathyroidism. Consequently, cinacalcet HCl became NPS's first commercial product after it was approved in 2004 in the United States and Europe, where it is marketed by Amgen under the brand names Sensipar and Mimpara, and in 2007 in Japan, where it is marketed by Kyowa Hakko Kirin under the brand name Regpara.

In 1999, NPS acquired Allelix Biopharmaceuticals, adding talented scientists and two new clinical projects to its portfolio: one to treat osteoporosis with recombinant human parathyroid hormone 1-84, and one to treat gastrointestinal disorders with an analog of GLP-2, a peptide involved in gastrointestinal repair and maintenance known as teduglutide.

By 2001, NPS had a corporate and scientific staff of 150 people located in Salt Lake City and Toronto. With the advancement of parathyroid hormone for osteoporosis in post-menopausal women and teduglutide in short bowel syndrome, NPS opened a commercial office in New Jersey in 2003.

A 2004 collaboration with Nycomed gave NPS a development and commercial partner for parathyroid hormone in Europe, where the drug was launched as Preotact® in 2006 as a treatment for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. In 2007, NPS restructured its operations and centralized all its activities in Bedminster, NJ.

Today, NPS is focused on drugs to treat rare gastrointestinal and endocrine disorders.  The company markets Gattex® (teduglutide [rDNA origin]) for injection in the United States for the treatment of adult short bowel syndrome and is preparing to seek U.S.regulatory approval to market NATPARATM (recombinant human parathyroid hormone (rhPTH (1-84)) as a hormone replacement therapy for hypoparathyroidism.  In addition to these programs, NPS is developing several proprietary early-stage product candidates and receives royalties from sales of products licensed to and marketed by other companies.