Nearing A Treatment for one of COVID-19’s Major Complications
As a world-renowned pulmonary physician scientist, Dr. Skip Garcia has treated thousands of ICU patients with severe respiratory ailments and now has one goal:
“Before I hang up my cleats I want to get a solution into the market that can help people survive ARDS.” He said.
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome has been in the news a lot lately as it is a major complication from COVID-19. But even without the pandemic’s additional cases, an average of 500,000 people per year are diagnosed with ARDS in the United States.
ARDS is the result of fluid build-up in the lungs – which leaks into the tiny air sacs where oxygen transfer takes place. This makes it hard to breathe and prevents oxygen from being absorbed into the blood stream, harming the brain, other tissues, and can ultimately lead to organ failure. With no cure or treatment, ARDS kills 30-40% of people who contract it.
ARDS is usually the result of some other trauma to the lungs – like COVID-19 – which causes inflammation. Inflammation makes blood vessels leak ultimately filling the lungs leading to ARDS.
Currently there are no FDA approved therapies for ARDS patients. Most are put on ventilators to increase oxygenation in the lungs. Unfortunately, ventilators typically cause more inflammation which only exacerbates the problem.
Dr. Garcia and his team identified an upstream pathway and target, eNAMPT, a biomarker which is a key activator of inflammation that plays an important role in various lung disorders. Using this discovery, Aqualung developed ALT-100, a humanized monoclonal antibody to target and neutralize eNAMPT, ultimately reducing the inflammation at the heart of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and many conditions such as Ventilator Induced Lung Injury, Radiation Induced Lung Injury, Chorioamnionitis, Pulmonary Hypertension, and Pulmonary Fibrosis.
Aqualung has also developed a platform technology with a bedside blood test in addition to their therapeutic drug ALT-100. This test helps measure the level of eNAMPT in the blood and also certain genetic variants for those who have a higher predisposition to ARDS. This allows Aqualung to de-risk their development program as they can pre-select those patients who are most likely to respond to their therapies. The Aqualung team have conducted pre-clinical trials with mice, rats, and most importantly swine, with great efficacy. The next step is to prove through rigorous clinical trials they have a novel therapeutic which will not only save lives but reduce overall healthcare costs.
If you’d like to speak with Dr. Garcia about Aqualung and their breakthrough therapy for ARDS and other inflammatory disorders, please contact FORCE Wealth CEO, Steven Saltzstein.
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