Daughter inspires new cystic fibrosis treatment

  • 06/03/2015

A New Zealand medical company is aiming to raise $500,000 through equity crowdfunding.

It wants to use the funds to trial a drug to treat cystic fibrosis. The chronic disease affects the lungs and digestive system, and leaves sufferers with a life expectancy in the mid-30s.

Professor Bob Elliott has spent 58 years researching cystic fibrosis, which affects 500 New Zealanders and 75,000 people worldwide.

"I'm very optimistic that we have got a major breakthrough in this really rather dreadful disease," he says.

He has developed Citramel – a spray designed to thin the mucus that accumulates in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis.

Medical company Breathe Easy now wants to conduct clinical trials to prove its safety and effectiveness.

"My interest stems from having a daughter with it," says the company's chief executive Andrea Miller. "I've been a parent watching the progression of this illness over many, many years."

Breathe Easy has raised $1 million from venture capital investors, and is now trying to raise another $500,000 through crowdfunding site Snowball Effect.

"It's a complete New Zealand story," says Ms Miller. "It's been invented in New Zealand, it's going to be made in New Zealand, in Timaru, [and] it's going to be trialled in Christchurch."

But retirement fund manager Paul Glass cautions there are risks.

"These sorts of opportunities are great for people who are passionate about making a donation, rather than looking at making a financial investment," he says.

One risk is that Citramel may not work as well in the trial as in the lab, but Prof Elliott is optimistic.

"This is a dreadful disease, and if things turn out well you can pat yourself on the back and say, 'I more than made money, I actually helped a group of young people.'"

He hopes the results of the first clinical trial will be released by the middle of next year.

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source: newshub archive