A Medical Device Daily

Synthetic Blood International (Costa Mesa, California) reported that grants awarded by the Department of Defense (DOD; Washington) to study clinical applications for Oxycyte total more than $5.3 million. Oxycyte is the company's perfluorocarbon (PFC) therapeutic oxygen carrier.

The grants include:

• Virginia Commonwealth University Reanimation Engineering Shock Center (VCURES; Richmond) received $1.3 million under a previously awarded U.S. Office of Naval Research grant for the treatment and prevention of decompression sickness (DCS) with Oxycyte.

A $1.6 million grant was made to support research into Oxycyte's ability to treat/prevent organ damage from arterial gas embolism (AGE). AGE is a potential result of DCS but also occurs during a number of surgical procedures including cardiac surgery, orthopedic-joint replacement, gynecologic surgery, and neurosurgery.

About $1.2 million (over 3 years) will be used in ongoing studies of perfluorocarbon emulsions in the treatment of severe DCS, which occurs in dive accidents, mine workers, high altitude and space flight, and is a potential complication of rescue from a disabled submarine.

A $300,000 dollar grant was made to sponsor a post-doctoral candidate to work in the microcirculation laboratories of VCURES supporting research in AGE, DCS, as well as other work in traumatic brain injury (TBI).

$300,000 was awarded to develop pilot studies into the effectiveness of Oxycyte in treating TBI secondary to a blast. Blast injury is the largest single cause of mortality and long term morbidity for coalition troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The VCURES work in blast injury will carefully dovetail with other Oxycyte research in TBI.

$600,000 from the U.S. is a sub-award from the $1.9 million grant to M. Ross Bullock, MD, PhD, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Department of Neurosurgery. This money will support the VCURES efforts in the human civilian brain injury trial.

"The $5.3 million total represents only grants specifically dedicated to Oxycyte. It does not include grant funds in which Oxycyte was one among other drug studies," said company chairman/CEO Chris Stern. "If we could include all the money spent from outside sources on Oxycyte research, the amount would be significantly greater. And we have indications that other researchers may be looking for funding for additional Oxycyte work that could speed up development of this promising product. This clearly underlines our intent to become a multi-product company with a strong portfolio of what could become a dozen or more indications in oxygen delivery to tissue."

In other grants/contracts news: OBS Medical (Carmel, Indiana) reported that it has been awarded $2 million from the Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund.

The company said it plans to use the grant award to accelerate development of its BioQT technology for pharmaceutical cardiac safety.

BioQT is an advanced signal processing technique designed to provide measurement of ECG QT interval, T wave morphology and other cardiac safety parameters assessed in drug trials. This technology provides cardiac safety profiles for new and existing drugs. BioQT can support either semi-automated processing (with cardiologist oversight) or fully-automated processing (based on pre-trained scientific model). In addition, BioQT can be used for both pre-clinical and clinical analysis.

OBS provides clinical algorithms for safer hospitals, safer patients and safer drugs. Based on intelligent algorithms such as neural networks, data fusion and ECG waveform recognition, OBS technologies cover a range of medical applications including automated early crisis warning (Visensia), automated assessment of ECG waveforms including QT interval measurement and morphology tracking (BioQT), and EEG analysis for brain-state assessment. OBS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oxford BioSignals (Oxford, UK), which was originally spun out from Oxford University.