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The Asthma Challenge: Not Solved Yet

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Asthma represents one of the blockbuster markets in the pharmaceutical industry; sales of drugs from 10 companies amount to $14 billion each year. Yet despite the high-volume sales of asthma drugs, in 73% of patients the disease is poorly controlled. For pharmaceutical firms and start-ups, the complex, multifactorial disease offers tantalizing possibilities; it's an enormous, yet underserved market with many points of entry, mechanistically speaking.

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Start-Up News October 2006

Arbios Systems and Livercyte provide assistance for the failing liver, and Aperon Biosystems takes up the asthma challenge.

Aperon Biosystems Corp.

Aperon Biosystems Corp. wants to make monitoring of nitric oxide-a reliable marker of airway inflammation--as routine for asthma patients as glucose checks are for diabetics. It is developing a low cost, noninvasive NO biosensor suitable for use at the point of care and at home for asthma self management. The company believes that regular monitoring with its device will give patients the feedback they need to better control their symptoms.

Topigen Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Topigen Pharmaceuticals Inc. plans to mount a full-scale attack on chronic respiratory ailments such as asthma, COPD and allergic rhinitis, with mRNA-interfering drugs that target multiple pathways. Its lead compound, for asthma, combines two antisense molecules to target at least eight different components of the inflammatory response.

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