Avisa Pharma Licenses HSC Cystic Fibrosis Technology

STC.UNM (STC), the technology-transfer arm of the University of New Mexico (UNM), has signed an exclusive option agreement with STC start-up, Avisa Pharma™ to license cystic fibrosis (CF) technology developed by Avisa Co-Founder Dr. Graham Timmins, Associate Professor, College of Pharmacy Department of Pharmaceutical Science, and colleagues from UNM’s School of Medicine.

The company’s goal is to develop the technology into a diagnostic tool for the rapid monitoring of lungPseudomonasinfection and its response to antibiotic treatment in diseases such as CF. In addition to the CF related technology, Avisa has also entered into an agreement to exclusively license similar technology for Tuberculosis (TB). Both the CF and TB technologies are supported by issued patents. CF patients have a genetic defect causing excessive thick mucus in their lungs that leads to chronic lung infections.

Currently, no fast, effective test is available to monitor lung microbiology and response to therapy in CF, yet being able to do this could greatly benefit people with CF. Avisa’s vision is to develop a diagnostic tool forPseudomonasthat would significantly improve CF management. Timmins’s technology assesses the bacterial load in the entire lung by measuring exhaled labeled carbon dioxide that is produced by the bacterial metabolism of inhaled AV-U13, a pharmaceutical grade, synthetic urea labeled with13C.13C is a stable non-radioactive isotope of carbon. Inhaled AV-U13 is metabolized in the lung byP. aeruginosato13CO2, which is then exhaled and easily and sensitively measured. The amount of13CO2exhaled is a function of the amount of infection in the lung. This approach to testing exhaled breath for stable isotopes to measure bacterial colonization has been successfully used for detecting and treatingH. pyloriin patients with ulcers.

“Stable isotope breath testing has been a real game changer in the rapid detection and management ofH. pyloriinfection; we want to do the same for CF.” offers Timmins. Lisa Kuuttila, STC President & CEO, states: “We are very excited about this important technology being commercialized for the benefit of cystic fibrosis patients. It is an excellent example of the translation of UNM research into the clinic.” David S. Joseph, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Avisa, added: “We chose the company’s name, Avisa, from avisar, meaning ‘to warn’ in Spanish, and we believe that this early warning system can transform the way we manage this disease where the average lifespan is 37 years of age.”

About STC.UNM STC.UNM (STC) (www.stc.unm.edu) is a nonprofit corporation formed and owned entirely by the University of New Mexico Regents (UNM). The mission of STC is to support UNM and its partners as the source of innovation management and commercial development. STC does this by connecting the business community to UNM; protecting and transferring intellectual property and faculty inventions to the commercial marketplace; and by assisting companies and organizations that wish to access facilities, expertise, and research conducted at UNM. As STC has evolved, the corporation has come to support not only UNM faculty, but students, outside inventors, and entrepreneurs as well. For additional information, contact Lisa Kuuttila at 505-272-7905 orkuuttila@stc.unm.edu.

ABOUT AVISA PHARMA Avisa Pharma, Inc., (Avisa) (http://avisapharma.com) is an early stage company developing a proprietary orphan diagnostic drug and test for the rapid monitoring of lung infection in cystic fibrosis to improve patient outcomes. Early, aggressive treatment of CF lung infections improves prognosis, but most CF infections are not treated until they cause increased symptoms (and more lung damage). Avisa’s technology addresses this vital gap in CF treatment by providing a rapid, point-of-care diagnostic technique. For additional information, contact David S. Joseph at 484-459-5076 ordsj@avisapharma.com. The company is located at the Santa Fe Business Incubator, 3900 Paseo del Sol, Santa Fe, NM 87507.

About UNMHSC College of PharmacyThe College of Pharmacy at the University of New Mexico was founded in 1945 as the first health professional college in New Mexico and has graduated over 2,500 pharmacists since 1949. Approximately 70 percent of all practicing pharmacists in New Mexico are UNM alumni (1000/1500). The College enrolls the most ethnically diverse student body of any school of pharmacy in the U.S. and enrolls the second highest percentage of Hispanic and Native American student pharmacists of any U.S. pharmacy school. The College was ranked 46thby theUS News and World Reportin 2005 and ranked 31stin NIH funding among pharmacy schools in 2007. The mission of the College of Pharmacy is to develop innovative leaders in pharmaceutical care and research who enhance the quality of life for the people of New Mexico and the United States.http://hsc.unm.edu/pharmacy

Contact: Luke Frank, 272-3322

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