By the time a patient develops diabetes, there is no cure. So Dr. Wenhong Cao aims to head off diabetes before the disease even presents itself.

Cao’s startup, JC Med, addresses insulin resistance, which can appear years before it progresses to diabetes. His company has set up shop at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis with plans to producce up to 300,000 bottles of a dietary supplement to prevent insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance, also called hyperglycemia, is a condition in which the body does not use the hormone insulin efficiently. Insulin resistance can be a precursor to diabetes and other diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and fatty liver and other metabolic disorders.

Besides leading JC Med, Cao is also a research associate professor in nutrition with the UNC Chapel Hill Nutrition Research Institute and he has spent much of his career researching obesity and diabetes. For JC Med, he has leased 500 square feet of the 1,500 square foot laboratory suite on the third floor of the David H. Murdock Core Laboratory building where he will be joined in the suite by General Mills and Carolinas Medical Center.

The dietary supplements produced in the facility will be sold in China through a distribution partner, Shanghai I DO Biotechnology. More than 20,000 bottles have pre-sold.

JC Med plans to use profits from those sales to finance continued development of a new home test for insulin resistance. This new test would make insulin resistance capabilities more accessible to patients. Right now, insulin resistance tests are available only through a doctor or a hospital. The company said that the meter will be similar to a glucose meter for diabetes.

“No one is treating insulin resistance,” Cao said in a statement. “Insulin resistance is evident up to 15 years before progressing to diabetes or any other disease. So there is a large window of time to make dietary changes, increase exercise or take supplements or some type of medication. By the time you have diabetes, the damage is done, and you can only manage it. There is no cure.”