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With national launch of antiseptic oral spray, this virtual consumer health firm has something to prove

1:07 pm by | 0 Comments

In a city known for its biomedical industry, a rare consumer health company is hoping to make a splash this week with a national product launch in the cough and cold market.

Cleveland-based Oasis Consumer Health is shipping its new product, Halo oral antiseptic, by the thousands over the next few weeks to stores both locally and across the country, according to the company’s Vice President Afif Ghannoum, including Wal-Mart, Discount Drug Mart, Marc’s and CVS (which has the product featured in its circular this week).

With distribution relationships and resources it acquired from a small oral health company two years ago, Oasis has been developing the spray for the past 18 months. What it’s come up with is a daily spray that coats the back of the throat and kills airborne germs that enter through the mouth and nose.

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The spray killed germs in the mouth and throat for up to six hours in clinical trials at UH Case Medical Center, Ghannoum said. Results from those trials will be published by the Infectious Disease Society of America in the fall.

It comes in formulations for children and adults and is made with cetylpyridinium chloride, a common antiseptic used in mouth washes and other oral products. What makes it unique from cold prevention products like Airborne and other germ killers like hand sanitizers is that it aims to kill germs that hang in the air for several hours after being sprayed.

“That’s where our real innovation was – there aren’t a lot of things that despite eating and drinking will kill germs,” Ghannoum said. “An instant kill doesn’t do much, because you’ll just bring in more with your next breath.”

Oasis has launched Halo and a line of moisturizing mouthwashes by raising more than $5 million “under the radar” from angel investors and an unidentified hedge fund, according to Ghannoum, who also founded life science law firm Ghannoum Law. That’s because, he said frankly, the company wasn’t able to get traction with local institutional groups that invest in the healthcare industry. “We were looked at as not a biotech, and it was clear that this is not a six-year medical device route,” he said.

It’s also unconventional in that it’s a virtual operation, working with a handful of companies nearby in nearby Ohio and Indiana and employing a staff of three. But with two products now on the market and a recent Best New Product award from the ECRM Cough & Cold and Allergy conference, Ghannoum said Oasis is finally getting some traction in the community.

“We’ve actually turned down a number of acquisition offers,” Ghannoum said. “Our plan is to have the next big thing.”

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Deanna Pogorelc

By Deanna Pogorelc MedCity News

Deanna Pogorelc is a Cleveland-based reporter who writes obsessively about life science startups across the country, looking to technology transfer offices, startup incubators and investment funds to see what’s next in healthcare. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University and previously covered business and education for a northeast Indiana newspaper.
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