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Local biotech firm awarded $2M grant to help respiratory patients

An Escondido biotech firm has been awarded a $2 million grant to further develop a novel way to deliver medicine for respiratory distress. The company is KAER Biotherapeutics and the grant comes from the National  Institute of Health. It will support the development of Supraer aerosol therapy for patients in respiratory distress

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health has awarded KAER Biotherapeutics a $2M Phase II SBIR grant to produce a medical device that will enable surfactant aerosol therapy for the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

This medical device enable surfactant aerosol therapy for the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS.)

ARDS is the sudden onset of congestion in the lungs that makes breathing extremely difficult. This syndrome is usually precipitated by pneumonia, infection in the blood stream, aspiration syndromes, smoke inhalation or major trauma. 

These challenges can initiate inflammation in the lungs that degrades the surfactant lining the peripheral air spaces. Normal surfactant in the periphery of the lungs generates a low surface tension that enables the lungs to expand easily when we breathe. When surfactant is not present or loses its low surface tension property, breathing becomes more and more difficult. There are no drugs approved for the treatment of ARDS. Although patients are treated with mechanical ventilation, some 40% of these patients die.

KAER has developed Supraer technology to deliver large clinically relevant doses of surfactant to replace abnormal lung surfactant, which heretofore has not been possible. Frost & Sullivan was early to recognize the “game changing” nature of Supraer for the delivery of aerosolized biologics to treat lung diseases in critically ill patients.

The device aerosolizes viscous solutions and suspensions of drugs and delivers them as pure solid-phase aerosols at clinically relevant dose rates up to 20 times that of present nebulizers.

Igor Gonda PhD, Founder of Respidex LLC and previously CEO of Aradigm Corporation (NASDAQ-CM: ARDM), told The Times-Advocate: “The SUPRAER® technology is uniquely suitable for point-of-care delivery of large doses of inhaled therapeutics, including viscous substances. It could therefore fill a gap that exists at present for some potentially very useful medications limited by the lack of availability of suitable delivery systems.”

Michelle Geller, Economic Development Manager for the City of Escondido, congratulated KAER for the grant. “The biotech and biomed device industries are the fastest growing segments in North County, providing over 12,000 jobs in the region. Escondido is pleased to be the home of KAER Biotherapeutics, whose cutting-edge technology will provide life-saving treatments to critically ill patients. The company’s success reflects the spirit of what the Innovate78 collaborative effort is all about.”

KAER is seeking partners to facilitate the rapid implementation of its aerosol delivery technology for the treatment of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, acute lung injury, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), TB, hospital acquired pneumonia, and other debilitating lung diseases.

CONTACT: Donovan Yeates, CEO, Kaer Biotheraeutics, dyeates(at)kaerbio(dot)com, Ph 760 480 9400, www.kaerbio.com

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