A Purdue University-affiliated start-up has won a $256,000 Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I award from the National Science Foundation to develop a treatment for a life-threatening lung condition that could also have benefits for patients with COVID-19.
Spirrow Therapeutics offers help for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS, by restoring lung function with a nanopolymer surfactant that can be administered through the trachea as a fast-acting liquid or preemptive aerosol. The startup team also is looking to use the technology to help those infected with COVID-19.
“We want to offer new hope for those patients with ARDS,” said Rich Ganz, CEO of Spirrow Therapeutics. “This is an exciting time because our work ties in closely with the research being done around the world to address COVID-19.”
Contagious viral infections such as COVID-19 are a common cause of pneumonia, which can develop into ARDS. ARDS also can be caused by septic shock, trauma, inhaling chemicals or other trauma.
The United States has more than 200,000 cases a year of ARDS. About 40% of people with ARDS die, and there are currently few treatment options.
Spirrow Therapeutics was co-founded by You-Yeon Won, a chemical engineering professor in Purdue’s College of Engineering, and his former students Davis Arick and Kyle Kim. Originally interested in neonatal lung function, the team turned its attention to ARDS after discovering a greater need there.
The co-founders worked with the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub housed in the Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration in Purdue’s Discovery Park District, adjacent to the Purdue campus.