Until now, there has been no fully reliable treatment to reverse life-threatening acute high blood pressure in the lungs
The cause of the acutely increased blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs may include a blood clot, blood poisoning or other serious infections. It can also be a complication in major surgeries, for example in cardiac surgery. During some procedures with a heart-lung machine, more than 50 percent of the patients may be affected. In other words, it is a life-threatening condition that generally occurs in the setting of critical illness elicited by many common diseases and major surgical procedures.
The result of the increased resistance in the lung blood vessels is that the heart’s right ventricle does not have the capacity to sufficiently pump the blood through the lungs. The consequence is, in severe cases, right heart failure and a drop in systemic blood pressure threatening blood flow to vital organs such as the brain, liver, kidneys and the heart itself, which can lead to rapid death.
The fact is that until now there has been no effective treatment to prevent this serious condition, consequently it is a major clinical problem. Inhaling nitric oxide or prostacyclin via the airways does not guarantee that the volatile gas reaches the affected blood vessels. Furthermore, treatment with current intravenous vasodilators, can cause a drop in systemic blood pressure and impair blood supply to the body’s vital organs.
Our discovery of a long-awaited effective drug, that selectively and efficiently widens the blood vessels in the lungs, and that soon will come into clinical practice is therefore great world news.
Supernitro, the first and only intravenous drug to selectively treat acute high blood pressure in the lungs
The Attgeno technology is based on ground-breaking research on nitric oxide and circulatory physiology at the Karolinska Institute and has been awarded the Major Innovation Prize by the Karolinska Institute Innovations AB and Innovation Agency Stockholm.
Our method of tailoring drugs to release nitric oxide to specific organs in the body has now generated a range of new drug substances with unique properties that can be used in life-threatening medical conditions. A great advantage with nitric oxide is that the substance is a natural part of our body and has been used for many years in clinical treatments.
Supernitro, our first drug candidate, represents a great new step in the medical use of nitric oxide. The drug is developed to selectively widen the blood vessels in the lungs.
The patient receives Supernitro as an intravenous infusion and therefore nitric oxide is delivered the natural way via the blood-vessels to the heart and lungs. The pressure in the lung circulation is lowered by widening all the targeted local blood vessels in the lungs.
The introduction of Supernitro is now in a very exciting phase. We are soon to launch the clinical phase 1 study.
Supernitro development plan and market opportunities
We are now in the transition phase towards the clinical use of Supernitro in patients with life-threatening acute pulmonary hypertension. We aspire to become the game changer on the market for treatment of acute pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular failure. The immediate targeted users of Supernitro will be cardiothoracic surgeons and anesthesiologists performing cardiopulmonary bypass surgery procedures, heart valve surgery and heart and lung transplantation. Acute pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure are common complications to these types of surgeries.
The potential market for Supernitro is substantial. In just Europe, USA and Japan over half a million cardiac surgery procedures are performed annually, and the incidence of acute pulmonary hypertension varies between 15 and 60 percent. Adopting the conservative incidence of 25 percent, this results in 125,000 patients in need of Supernitro. Assuming a market share of 40 percent and a price of six thousand euro per treatment (based on present price for inhaled nitric oxide) this results in a market potential of around EUR 300 million per year in Europe, USA and Japan. If you include treatments in connection to other surgery, pulmonary embolism, sepsis and ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) the annual market potential adds up to EUR 8.5 billion.