Licensed technology will aid critical care patients
InspiRx, a New Jersey/North Carolina based medical device/pharmaceutical company, has signed an exclusive license agreement with the Research Foundation for SUNY to develop a new pulmonary treatment for critical care patients in intensive care units.
The patented nebulizer device and system for delivering aerosolized antibiotics to patients on mechanical ventilators was invented by Dr. Gerald Smaldone, professor of medicine and Chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at Stony Brook University, in collaboration with InspiRx.
“Being on a ventilator greatly increases the risk of respiratory infection,” explained Dr. Smaldone, noting that ventilator-associated pneumonia can be a serious and life threatening complication. As a result, almost all patients in intensive care end up receiving antibiotics during their hospital stay.
“I believe that delivering aerosolized antibiotics directly into the lungs is a safe and effective way to prevent the development of respiratory infection and lower the use of systemic antibiotics in these patients,” said Dr. Smaldone.
A key challenge to delivering antibiotics via aerosols to patients receiving mechanical ventilation is measuring and controlling dosage. At Stony Brook University, Dr. Smaldone had access to all the tools he needed to make sure these patients are getting the medicine they need. “It was all right here under one roof – an aerosol laboratory and expertise in respiratory therapy, intensive care and infectious disease,” said Smaldone, who received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.
Dr. Smaldone worked with longtime colleague Dr. Lucy Palmer, associate professor of medicine at Stony Brook and an expert in respiratory infection, to refine and test the nebulizer device and drug delivery system. Potential benefits of the new treatment include shortened hospital stays, decreased incidence of deep lung infection and reduced rates of bacterial resistance.
The Office of Technology Licensing and Industry Relations collaborated with Dr. Smaldone and InspiRx to translate his invention into a commercial product. “What I’ve learned as a doctor is that if you want to bring a new treatment to a patient, you need to protect it and help commercialize it,” said Smaldone, who has patented a number of his inventions.
Now Dr. Smaldone is working with InspiRx to move the treatment through the US Food and Drug Administration approval process. InspiRx is focused on improving the overall quality of respiratory drug delivery using experts and state-of-the-art technologies to make novel products. The company is also collaborating with Dr. Smaldone on an aerosolized treatment for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a serious disease that causes tissue deep in the lungs to scar.
Michael T. Amato, MBA, President and CEO of InspiRx has known and worked with Dr. Smaldone for over 30 years. “InspiRx is eager to move this technology forward and is very optimistic that they will begin the pre-clinical studies in early 2019” said Amato. InspiRx will be in the clinic with its aerosol product for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in 2019 as well. “We are very optimistic that both drugs will find their way into the market,” Amato added.
Research at SUNY produces more than 200 new technologies a year. The Research Foundation for SUNY protects the valuable intellectual property generated at SUNY campuses and works with industry and businesses, like InspiRx, to translate research discoveries into commercial products that benefit society and spur economic development.
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