What is the critical gap in cancer treatment that you are addressing?
Human blood is our most important “biologic” or defense for fighting disease. We cannot survive without healthy blood. Nor can we offer our blood to others in need if our own blood is infected with harmful pathagens. Our most vulnerable patients, such as cancer patients who are at risk of infection and anemia, DEPEND on clean blood and “blood plasma” – i.e. the portion of blood that protects the body from infections and other blood disorders.
So too, as Covid-19 infections persist, the need for clean blood plasma is in high demand. Those who successfully overcame Covid-19 infection have valuable disease-fighting antibodies circulating in their blood that could be offered to others who are struggling to survive this infection.
Yet blood transfusions come with the serious risk of passing on unintended live virus. The current techniques to remove viruses include chemicals, radiation, heat and detergents. These approaches are not entirely effective for removing all types of viruses. Some even require a multi-steps process to remove unwanted carcinogenic residue derived from the virus-removal procedure itself. A better approach for inactivating pathogens in the blood plasma is critical and urgent.
Aphios International specializes in the development of products that inactivate pathogens through physical disruption. Our approach is called Critical Fluid Inactivation (CFI) and it uses SuperFluids to permeate and inflate the virus particles under pressure. We quickly decompress these particles causing the viruses to rupture at their weakest points.
Our technology is simple, safe and effective in delivering blood plasma that is virus-free, while at the same time desired immune proteins remain intact and active. Importantly, our approach could be impactful in developing countries where access to traditional blood-cleaning agents are in limited supply.
What is the key product development milestone you seek to fund?
Aphios International will create a state-of-the-art prototype device for inactivating Covid-19 and other viruses and pathogens while retaining valuable biological and immunological properties needed to help infected patients recover.
The pathogen clearance device will take approximately 12 to 18 months to complete. After that, we will require an additional 12 months for clinical trials to test safety and efficacy in Covid-19 infected patients.
How will funds be used?
The development of the prototype will cost approximately $500,000 in total. The first $100,000 will be used for the design and engineering of the device. The rest of the funds will be used for parts and assembly, testing and evaluation. See the budget breakdown below:
$100,000: Design and Engineering
$50,000: Parts and Assembly
$100,000: Testing and Evaluation
$250,000: Conducting iterative testing and evaluation processes
What key resources have/will you acquire to facilitate the accomplishment of the above product development milestones?
Aphios International has already raised $7.9M in non-dilutive funding: $4M from our parent company, Aphios Corporation, and $3.9M from a Phase I/II SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) grant from the National Heart and Lung Institute. Funds have been dedicated to help develop the Aphios COVID-19 pathogen clearance device and to conduct research on virus clearance in the blood plasma from ICU patients infected with the Covid-19.
If successful, how would you leverage funds raised through our portal to access key funding from other sources?
Aphios International will leverage funds raised on the Music Beats Cancer platform to attract $5M in equity investments, which will help support regulatory approval. Also, Aphios International intends to leverage the funds raised toward a possible follow-on of up to $3M matching grant (SBIR Phase IIB) from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
If your Technology were to disappear in the “Valley of Death” funding bottleneck how might this impact society?
Pandemics and plagues are inevitable. What is not certain is knowing what pathogen will cause it, when it will happen and how well the world will cope. Vaccinations and antibiotics have eliminated some of mankind’s greatest foes and lulled society into believing that great plagues are things of the past. However, as Covid-19 continues to infect our global community, we are reminded that pathogen infections are real and preparedness is KEY to surviving them.
Unfortunately, vaccines and treatments against novel pathogens can take months, if not years, to get to patients. A viable and immediate alternative is blood plasma: The antibody-rich portion of blood from recovered patients that can be offered to those who are struggling to fight the disease. Instituting a program capable of effectively clearing convalescent plasma of infectious diseases and other pathogens is paramount to pandemic preparedness. It could save countless lives. Aphios is positioned to support this effort. Failure to capitalize on the Aphios technology would be devastating for our world when the next pandemic hits.