A Medical Device Daily

AcousTx (Seattle), a developer of medical products based on the application of therapeutic energy, reported receiving a multi-phase contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), worth, it said, “potentially up to $30 million over four years.” Phase I funding is about $8 million, AcousTx said.

Contracted through the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command in support of DARPA's Deep Bleeder Acoustic Coagulation (DBAC) program, the goal is development of a portable system that will automatically locate and noninvasively treat bleeding vessels in arms and legs.

Blood loss from extremity wounds is the number one cause of preventable battlefield death. The envisioned system uses advanced diagnostic ultrasound techniques with automated control to locate the bleeding and to direct the delivery of high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) energy to the target sites to stop the bleed.

Joseph Eichinger, president of AcousTx, said, “Success-ful development of the DBAC ultrasound system will save lives and prevent amputations. This exciting project should lead to significant advances in emergency trauma care for both military and commercial applications.”

AcousTx' team includes Siemens Corporate Research (Princeton, New Jersey) and Therus (Seattle), a HIFU innovator developing the first commercial use of remote acoustic hemostasis using image-guided therapy, it said.

AcousTx, formed in 2002, develops products using a “'leave nothing behind' philosophy – no sutures, no clips, no implants. Using various forms of targeted energy, such as ultrasound or radio frequency, the targeted tissue can be functionally modified to accomplish the same therapeutic effects as implanted devices, but without the inherent risks.

In other grant news, Epeius Biotechnologies (San Marino, California) reported receiving a $400,000 grant by the Lazarex Cancer Foundation to support cancer gene therapy clinical trials for advanced and metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Epeius says that Rexin-GTM is the world's first targeted injectable gene therapy vector to be approved for use in clinical trials in the U.S. and abroad. When injected intravenously, Rexin-GTM seeks out and destroys metastatic cancer, without the systemic toxicity generally associated with chemotherapy.

Rexin-GTM recently gained orphan drug status as an effective treatment for pancreatic cancer in the U.S., and is currently available in clinical trials in Rochester Minnesota.

Dana Dornsife, president of the Lazarex Cancer Foundation, said the funds will “expedite the development of such promising genetic medicines, which – by improving both the survival and the quality of life – provide cancer patients with more quality time.”

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