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Aqualung Therapeutics Corporation Receives A $1.7 Million National Institute Of Health (NIH) Fastrack Award To Develop An Novel Immune-Based Therapeutic Antibody For Critically Ill Patients With Acute Lung Injury

TUCSON, Ariz., June 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --

Aqualung scientists identified nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) as a novel upstream immune-based therapeutic target in the development of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, their lead clinical indication. They have developed eNamptor™, a humanized  monoclonal antibody designed to neutralize circulating extracellular eNAMPT, as a novel biologic to suppress lung and systemic inflammatory cascades.

Aqualung Therapeutics Corporation has been awarded an NIH FASTRACK AWARD  (R42HL145930) which will support mid- and late-stage development of a novel therapeutic for patients with acute respiratory failure due to trauma and infection, a disorder termed the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.  The initial stage of this NIH STTR Award involves selection of eNamptor™, the lead eNAMPT-neutralizing humanized mAb candidate. Selection is based upon performance in in vitro studies and diverse in vivo preclinical models of ARDS.  The second STTR stage supports the completion of pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic and toxicology studies with the lead eNamptor™ candidate in appropriate animal models, followed by submission of an FDA IND application. 

"This is an exciting and pivotal moment for Aqualung as this STTR now places us one step closer to fully developing eNamptor™," states Dr. Joe GN Garcia, CEO of Aqualung Therapeutics. "ARDS is a vexing problem with a 30-40% mortality rate but remains without any available FDA-approved ICU therapies. We believe by targeting a novel upstream inflammatory agonist, NAMPT, we may successfully inhibit inflammatory cascades, shorten the duration that patients remain on mechanical ventilation, thereby reducing ICU healthcare costs and improving ARDS and ICU survival. The Aqualung team has achieved a significant milestone with this STTR Grant as we advance our clinical program to IND-enabling studies." 

Many companies submit grants to the NIH and Aqualung is honored to have been selected for this award and is well on its way to completing the Phase I milestones outlined in the application. The grant, awarded over a 3 year period, allows Aqualung to also initiate early clinical development with non-dilutive capital.

About Aqualung Therapeutics Corporation

Aqualung is an early stage biotech company developing immune-focused therapeutic antibodies for patients suffering from disorders characterized by acute and chronic lung and systemic inflammation.  Founded in 2011 and led by a physician scientist, Aqualung's science-driven approaches led them to the identification of nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) and other key proteins expressed in both acute and chronic lung inflammatory diseases.  The pipeline of ALT is designed to target a range of diseases, including ARDS, ventilator- and radiation-induced lung injury, prostate cancer, pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary fibrosis.  These conditions all exhibit a significant unmet medical need with significant morbidity and mortality. For additional information about the company, please visit www.aqualungtherapeutics.com.

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SOURCE Aqualung Therapeutics Corporation