Molecular Express announces award of SBIR Phase II funding from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute to develop a synthetic lung surfactant PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 18 May 2009 17:50

RANCHO DOMINGUEZ, Calif. May 19, 2009 -- Molecular Express ( announced the receipt of SBIR Phase II funding from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute  (NHLBI) to develop a novel lung surfactant product for treating patients suffering from Acute Lung Injury (ALI) or the Acute Respiratory Distress syndrome (ARDS).  The lung surfactant project will be a multi-institutional collaborative effort between Professors Alan Waring and Frans Walther of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed), Professor Robert Notter of the University of Rochester, Professor Adrian Schwan of the University of Guelph and the Molecular Express team.  The Company has also obtained an exclusive license to certain synthetic lung surfactant technology discovered by Professors Waring, Walther, Notter and Schwan.

Following its discovery in the 1950’s, lung surfactant was the subject of extensive basic and clinical research aimed at developing products to treat surfactant deficiency in premature infants, a condition now known as Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome (NRDS). First generation surfactant therapy for NRDS with animal-derived drugs was developed in the 1980’s, and has greatly decreased the mortality and morbidity of premature infants although many still develop this condition and related lung injury.  The lethal clinical syndromes of ALI/ARDS occur in patients of any age in association with direct and indirect forms of lung injury from a variety of causes.  Approximately 50,000-190,000 adults per year in the U.S. develop ARDS, and the incidence of ALI has been estimated at 22-86 cases per 100,000 persons per year. Mortality in ALI/ARDS remains very high despite great advances in critical care medicine over the past several decades. The lung surfactant products to be developed in this SBIR Phase II application are expected to have significant advantages in manufacturing economy, stability, and activity compared to existing clinical exogenous surfactants for treating NRDS and ALI/ARDS.   

Robert Notter - “We're all very enthusiastic about this grant with Molecular Express, and think it brings us closer to a long-term goal in the surfactant field of developing a maximally-active fully-synthetic exogenous surfactant for lung disease therapy.” 

Alan Waring - “The design of highly-active surfactant peptides that can be synthesized using commercially viable processes has been one of the breakthroughs that make us excited about the potential of this project.”  

Gary Fujii, Ph.D., President and CEO – “Phase II support from NHLBI represents a significant step towards developing synthetic lung surfactant technology into a life-saving product.  We are delighted to be able to participate in the development and commercialization of lung surfactant products discovered by Professors Waring, Walther, Notter and Schwan.”   

About Molecular Express 

Molecular Express, a subsidiary of Molecular GPS Technologies headquartered in Rancho Dominguez, California is a research and development technology company specializing in the application of life science technologies to address market needs across a broad spectrum of industries. The Company’s lipid and “Molecular Guided Particle Systems” delivery platform is the basis for many active programs.   

Molecular Express currently has active research and development projects in the fields of infectious diseases, anti-cancer therapies and regenerative medicine.  

About LA BioMed 

Founded 56 years ago, LA BioMed is one of the country’s largest not-for-profit independent biomedical research institutes. It conducts biomedical research, trains young scientists and provides community services, including childhood immunization, nutrition assistance and anti-gang violence programs.  The institute’s researchers conduct studies in such areas as cardiovascular disease, emerging infections, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, dermatology, reproductive health, vaccine development, respiratory disorders, inherited illnesses and neonatology. Please visit our website at  

About the University of Rochester 

The University of Rochester established in 1850 consistently ranks among the top 30 national public and private institutions in Federal R & D funding.  The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) has an overall annual budget of almost $2 billion, and NIH funding during the past year was $159 million. URMC has 26 residency programs and 42 fellowship programs training 531 residents and 120 fellows. The highly-selective medical school admits 100 students per year, and provides training in cutting-edge, evidence-based medical science integrated with relationship-centered clinical medicine.  The University has invested nearly $400 million in new research facilities, equipment, and faculty recruitment over the past decade, with another $130 million slated for investment through 2010 (

Last Updated on Monday, 21 September 2009 15:32