Pulmatrix Chief Scientific Officer David Hava Featured on Health Media Now
In wide-ranging interview, Hava discusses advances in treating respiratory diseases using inhaled drugs, among other topics
LEXINGTON, Mass., Nov. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Pulmatrix, Inc. (NASDAQ: PULM), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative inhaled therapies to address serious pulmonary diseases, today announced that its Chief Scientific Officer, David Hava, PhD, was the featured guest on Health Media Now on November 17, 2016. Health Media Now is an online talk radio show that focuses on important health innovations and issues.
In his wide-ranging interview with award-winning host Denise Messenger, Hava discusses a number of trends and issues that are important to the American public, from drug prices to "revolutionary" developments in diseases like cystic fibrosis. He also describes his early interest in biology. "I became really passionate about working for the pharmaceutical or biotech industry, where I could apply an innovative technology to meeting unmet medical needs," he says in the interview.
In particular, the interview with Hava focuses on respiratory diseases like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cystic fibrosis (CF). Millions of Americans suffer from respiratory diseases, Hava explains, and there have been "dramatic improvements in care over the last 20 years." One key advance has been the development of inhaled drugs, he says.
But current inhaled drugs are not perfect. "They are great, but they are limited," Hava explains. Only about 20% of the drugs being delivered actually make it to the lungs where they are needed. The rest get stuck in the inhaler or in the throat, where they can lead to side effects.
That's why Hava and Pulmatrix have developed a new type of dry powder that 'flies' more easily into the lungs. As a result, based on pre-clinical results, "we get 80% of the drug into the lungs," Hava explains. It also allows many more types of drugs to be delivered through inhalation. That technology, called iSPERSE™, is described in an animation the company has produced, Hava says.
Pulmatrix is now using the technology to develop products that can really benefit patients, says Hava. For example, one major unmet medical need is a safe and effective treatment for fungal infections in the lungs. Patients with either CF or severe asthma often get infected by aspergillosis, a type of fungus. Some of those patients then develop an allergic reaction known as allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA), in which inflammation in the lungs and systemically worsens the disease and makes it even harder to breathe.
One of Pulmatrix's drug candidates, PUR1900, combines an antifungal drug with the iSPERSE drug delivery technology. Preclinical studies show that it offers significant advantages over the current standard of care, an oral antifungal drug. "Millions of patients suffer from ABPA and could benefit from an antifungal treatment like the one we are developing," says Hava. "We think we can have a large impact." Pulmatrix has successfully received orphan drug status from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to develop PUR1900 to treat fungal infections in CF patients. However, PUR1900 is not approved by the FDA for sale or marketing at this time.
Another Pulmatrix drug candidate, PUR2000, has the potential to both improve treatment for COPD and to bring costs down for patients, because it will be a generic version of an existing best-selling inhaled drug, says Hava.
These developments show that medical care for respiratory diseases should continue to improve, potentially bringing major benefits to millions of people. "We are very excited about what we are doing," Hava says.
William Duke, CFO
SOURCE Pulmatrix, Inc.