Based on core technology developed by McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine faculty members William Federspiel, PhD, W.K. Whiteford professor of bioengineering, chemical engineering, and critical care medicine, and the late Brack Hattler, MD, ALung Technologies, Inc., is today a leading provider of low-flow extracorporeal carbon dioxide removal (ECCO2R) technologies for treating patients with acute respiratory failure. The company announced recently the closing of a $36 million Series C financing, including existing convertible notes. The round was led by Philips and UPMC, through its innovation and commercialization arm UPMC Enterprises, with other new and existing investors participating. The funding will support a planned US-based pivotal trial for FDA approval of the company’s Hemolung Respiratory Assist System (RAS), a minimally invasive artificial lung device which removes carbon dioxide independently of the lungs through a process called Respiratory Dialysis®.
In 2015, the Hemolung RAS was granted Expedited Access Pathway (EAP) designation by the FDA, allowing ALung to collaborate more closely with the agency towards bringing the Hemolung technology to the United States. “Since 2013, hundreds of patients with acute respiratory failure have been successfully treated with the Hemolung RAS outside of the United States,” said Peter DeComo, ALung Chairman and CEO. “With this new financing, we will be able to conduct our US-based clinical trial, an important step towards obtaining FDA approval and making our device available to patients in the United States. We are grateful to Philips, UPMC, and our many other investors for their commitment to ALung and the numerous patients who stand to benefit from our technology.”
The investment by Philips and UPMC will bring more than capital to the company, with both organizations offering resources and expertise to support ALung’s work. ALung’s Board of Directors will be strengthened with new members from Philips and UPMC Enterprises. Adam Seiver, MD, will join the board as a representative from Philips, where he serves as the Chief Medical Officer of Philips Patient Care and Monitoring Systems. Joining from UPMC will be Jeanne Cunicelli, Executive Vice President of UPMC Enterprises. Ms. Cunicelli has more than two decades of investment and advising experience in the life sciences industry.
“We are excited to partner with ALung, whose mission reflects our own: to dramatically improve patient outcomes and the cost-effectiveness of care by applying cutting-edge science and technology,” said Steven Shapiro, MD, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer of UPMC. UPMC was the first hospital system in the United States to use the Hemolung RAS on an emergency use basis.
“As a leader in non-invasive ventilation solutions for the hospital and the home, we are committed to making a difference in patient care through innovation,” said Dr. Adam Seiver, Chief Medical Officer of Philips Patient Care and Monitoring Systems. “We see the potential of ALung’s innovative technology, and we are excited to partner with them and bring the technology to the next level.”
Joining Philips and UPMC in the Series C round were new and existing investors including Abiomed, The Accelerator Fund, Allos Ventures, Birchmere Ventures, Blue Tree Ventures, and Riverfront Ventures. Raymond James & Associates, Inc., acted as lead placement agent for the transaction.
Illustration: ALung Technologies, Inc.