Building strategic connections to help sufferers of cystic fibrosis.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic illness affecting the lungs and digestive systems of approximately 75,000 people worldwide. Citramel, a newly developed inhaled drug from New Zealand company Breathe Easy, has the potential to improve radically the longevity and quality of these people’s lives.
Breathe Easy completed their first clinical trial of the drug in February 2016 and is now underway with Phase IIa trials, which began in June in Auckland and Christchurch. They have been moving fast since securing pilot funding in mid-2015, and Breathe Easy CEO Andrea Miller credits Callaghan Innovation with helping to get it to this point.
With Callaghan’s assistance we have access to a wide team of skilled professionals supporting all areas of our business, not only in the usual business development areas, but also in the harder-to-access technical areas.
In particular, Callaghan Innovation’s Technology and Product Development team helped Breathe Easy to get over a key scientific hurdle. Miller explains: “We were circling around an in-vitro testing issue for some time. The Callaghan Innovation Protein Science and Engineering team helped us grip this area up and maximise our in-vitro testing programme.”
As well as supporting the science behind Citramel and providing a Project Grant to assist its development, Callaghan Innovation helped Breathe Easy to develop through making strategic connections and building networks. In fact Breathe Easy is now based in a biotech hub alongside Callaghan Innovation in Auckland. This move was a strategic decision to give the company proximity to research facilities and opportunities to mix with like-minded businesses.
Callaghan Innovation continues to be involved as Breathe Easy matures; most recently its International team co-funded Miller to attend the 2016 ARCS Scientific Congress in Australia, where she was able to learn about clinical trial project management, network with people who can assist the company (and potentially be recruited), and better understand the Australian market and its differences from New Zealand – in other words, arming Breathe Easy with resources it needs to take Citramel to market.
Updated: 27 April 2017