UAMS-Developed Product Hits 121 Walmart Stores
Dec. 3, 2013 | Omnibalm Daily Foot Therapy, a cream for general and diabetic foot care developed by Bill Gurley, Ph.D., a College of Pharmacy pharmaceutical sciences professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), is now available in 121 Walmart stores across seven states.
Omnibalm Daily Foot Therapy is a non-greasy formula that softens and helps repair dry, cracked skin and keeps feet healthy and shoes smelling fresh. It is marketed by Balm Innovations LLC, a UAMS BioVentures startup company licensed to take UAMS inventions from laboratories to the marketplace.
Omnibalm can be found in the diabetic sections of many Walmart Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Discount Stores in Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.
Gurley’s inspiration for the cream came as the result of his own severe sunburn 27 years ago. His research led him to tea tree oil, which comes from Australia’s Melaleuca tree and has a long history as an effective treatment for many skin maladies.
“If you dig through the medical literature, tea tree oil has a lot of unique medicinal properties,” Gurley said. “It has natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. And it also acts as a skin permeation enhancer, which allows skin cells to absorb it more quickly.”
Lydia Carson, president and CEO of Balm Innovations, learned of the cream while enrolled in the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Executive M.B.A. program. Her own experience with the cream and the testimonials of others convinced her that it was a good business opportunity.
“We gave it to our friends and it worked on everybody; everybody loved it,” Carson said. “Even the skeptical people loved it. That’s when we realized it had to be out there in stores.”
As a UAMS BioVentures startup company, Balm Innovations has a license to market the cream, while a percentage of profits go back to UAMS and the inventor. Omnibalm is undergoing a clinical trial for use in preventing recurrent diabetic foot ulcers. More information can be found at Omnibalm.com.
In his 24 years at UAMS, Gurley has established himself as the nation’s foremost expert on the herb-drug interactions and the dangers of ephedra. His research, court testimony and national media exposure helped lead to the 2004 FDA ban on ephedra-based supplements.