Tonus Therapeutics

Tonus Therapeutics
8210 Golden Oak Circle
Williamsville NY 14221


JBJB is the beloved grandson of Jeff Harvey, the COO of Tonus Therapeutics. JB was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy at the age of two. Jeff, in collaboration with the team at University of Buffalo, is developing drugs to allow JB to develop as a typical boy.

Watch JB's video on YouTube.

Tonus Therapeutics is a young biotech company in Buffalo NY whose goal is the development of drugs that are active for diseases that involve biomechanics.

The primary target is muscular dystrophy, the most common fatal genetic disease among boys, where genetic errors have caused the breakdown of the protein dystrophin that normally reinforces the cell membrane.

Tonus currently has two drugs in the pipeline under patent protection that act on mechanosensitive ion channels — they are the only drugs known to be specific for this class of ion channels.

sampleMechanosensitive ion channel currents in a heart cell are inhibited by GsMTx4.

Tonus Therapeutics was founded in 2009 based on the work of Dr. Frederick Sachs and his collaborators at the State University of New York at Buffalo in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics and the Center for Single Molecule Biophysics. The company was founded with Dr. Sachs’ collaborators, Dr. Thomas Suchyna and Dr. Philip Gottlieb of SUNY Buffalo, and Mr. Jeff Harvey of Buffalo.

We are grateful to The Children's Guild of Buffalo and the UB Center for Advanced Technology for their financial support.



Natural product medicine
Nature provides us with many complex mixtures that contain both harmful and beneficial components.  Important  medicines have been found by separating nature's mixes into their component parts.  In the 20th century this approach yielded digitalis (for treating cardiac illness), paclitaxel (for treating cancer), and the fungal metabolite lovastatin, which was the lead compound for many subsequent cholesterol-lowering drugs.  Indeed, the majority of drugs produced prior to the 1980s were derived from natural sources.

Peptides an other agents isolated from animal venoms and plants  have also become well known drugs.  Teprotide, a peptide isolated from viper venom, lead to the development of the antihypertensive agents cilazapril and captopril.  Botox is a widely recognized drug which was isolated from a neurotoxin secreted by Clostridium botulinum.  Epibatidine was isolated from the skin of the Ecuadorian poison frog.  Similarly GSMTX is a peptide isolated from tarantula venom whose pharmacologic properties are being studied for their potential to treat such important diseases as muscular dystrophy and sickle cell anemia.