Startup’s drug could help preemies breathe easy

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia is a common condition among premature infants that require ventilation after birth. It causes inflammation and scarring in their delicate lungs, leading to serious complications at the earliest and most critical stages of a preemie’s development. Cincinnati-based Airway Therapeutics has raised $4.6 million in Series A financing for its new treatment, AT-100, that prevents BPD in preemies. The company has developed a […]

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia is a common condition among premature infants that require ventilation after birth. It causes inflammation and scarring in their delicate lungs, leading to serious complications at the earliest and most critical stages of a preemie’s development.

Cincinnati-based Airway Therapeutics has raised $4.6 million in Series A financing for its new treatment, AT-100, that prevents BPD in preemies. The company has developed a protein, called recombinant human surfactant protein D, and plans to use the funding to jump-start formulation, manufacturing and animal testing of the new therapy. Airway has been granted orphan designation by both European regulators and the Food and Drug Administration.

Many thousands of preemies are at risk of developing this condition because they’re born before their bodies naturally produce surfactant, the substance that allows lungs to inflate. Using ventilators allows such early-term babies to breathe, of course, but it is very damaging to their delicate and immature lung tissue, Airway Therapeutics said. Babies that develop BPD are prone to repeated pneumonia, hospitalization and higher rates of asthma.

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The research comes out of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, which is participating in this funding round along with CincyTech, Queen City Angels and other private investors.