PETAH TIKVA, Israel, December 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
The Israeli biotech company AIT (http://www.ait-pharm.com) announced today it completed a $1.25 million raise. This funding will enable the company to begin two clinical trials.
- Clalit Health Services, the largest Israeli health fund, through its Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, Israel, and Mor Research Applications Ltd., will participate in research and clinical trials.
- The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, licensed the technology to AIT.
AIT specializes in the development of formulations based on nitric oxide (NO) for infectious lung diseases. The company is owned by Mor Research Applications. Mor is involved in the management and commercialization of intellectual property for Clalit physicians.
Bronchiolitis, an infectious lung disease caused by the respiratory syncytical virus (RSV), is common in children and infants. It is a major cause of hospitalization and infant mortality. Approximately 200,000 children under the age of five in developed countries die every year from bronchiolitis. The disease affects the small airways in the lungs and is accompanied by a runny nose, cough, and high fever. It is particularly aggressive in infants, preemies, and others with compromised immune systems. In cases such as these, if the patient is not treated in time, the virus can cause very serious breathing problems, and may lead to death.
Today, the standard treatment for bronchiolitis consists of supportive care only (oxygen inhalation, saline inhalations, and steroids) rather than treating the cause of the disease (the virus). Antibiotics are ineffective against bronchiolitis since, in most cases, it is viral.
Dr. Yossef Av-Gay, a director at AIT and a Professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada states, "NO is a gas that is produced in the human body and is responsible for a wide range of activities from the expanding of blood vessels to fighting infections. Now, for the first time, AIT is starting Phase II clinical studies after a successful Phase I trial conducted at the University of British Columbia under the supervision of Dr. Chris Miller. I believe that we are on the verge of a breakthrough in the treatment of lung infections with new drugs based on nitric oxide."
Professor David Greenberg, senior doctor at the Pediatric Infectious Disease unit at Soroka, said, "Every winter, we are flooded with infants with bronchiolitis and others who require respiratory intensive care due to narrowing of the windpipe. Now, there is no cure for this condition. The new drug could revolutionize treatment of this disease for Soroka patients. The body's immune system uses nitric oxide gas in its natural state as its first line of defense against viruses and bacteria. Toddlers and infants whose immune systems are not yet fully developed are very sensitive to viral infections that exploit their vulnerability. Using nitric oxide gas may give the required response for infants and toddlers with pulmonary infections due to bronchiolitis."
AIT (http://www.ait-pharm.com) is an Israeli biomed company focused on the development and commercialization of formulations from nitric oxide for the treatment of infectious diseases. The company was founded in 2011 by Mor Research Applications of Clalit Health Services and has successfully completed Phase I trials. AIT develops products for the treatment of brochiolitis, cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, asthma, and influenza.
SOURCE Advanced Inhalation Technology (AIT) Ltd.