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Respiratory Therapies: Moving Beyond Symptomatic Relief

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Existing treatments for airway and lung disorders, including allergies, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, provide widely effective symptom relief. New products in development aim to halt progression and even reverse the disorders. We profile three emerging respiratory drug developers in this issue: Pearl Therapeutics, Protectimmun and Pulmatrix.

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Respira Therapeutics Inc.

Respira Therapeutics Inc.'s method for delivering drugs to the lung is unusual because it does not utilize any chemical and doesn't require special formulations. Instead, a drug-coated bead about the size of a pea sits dead center in a cartridge the size and shape of a lipstick tube. When a person inhales from the device, the bead oscillates and the therapeutic is detached as the patient breathes in.

Pearl Therapeutics Inc.

Drawing on a proprietary porous particle technology to create stable inhalable suspensions, Pearl Therapeutics Inc. has developed a metered-dose inhaler format able to deliver combination products across therapeutics and product types. The company's lead chronic obstructive pulmonary disease MDI candidate combines a long-acting muscarinic antagonist plus a long acting beta-2 agonist. A mid-stage clinical trial demonstrated significant benefits versus blockbuster, market-leading active comparators in patients with moderate-to-very severe COPD.

Protectimmun GMBH

Protectimmun GMBH aims to leverage findings of a large epidemiological study showing that people exposed early in life to farms have reduced tendency to develop respiratory and other allergies. The German start-up thinks a component of barn dust can help train the human immune system so that it never perceives ordinary environmental substances as allergens.

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