Some children lose their hearing because of chemo. Otomagnetics has developed a way to protect their hearing using the forces of magnets.
What is the critical gap in cancer treatment that you are addressing?
A major side effect of chemotherapy is hair loss, nausea and vomiting – consequences we are all familiar with. However, a host of other chemo-related side effects are less discussed, but can severely impact the quality of life for people who survive their cancers. Hearing loss is one such side effect that broadly affects cancer patients. In fact, The Action on Hearing Loss estimates that there are 700,000 new patients of hearing loss each year in the United States and Western Europe, all attributable to chemotherapy treatment.
For children, the problem is more disturbing. Common chemotherapies, for example cisplatinum, reportedly can result in 90% hearing loss in children.
Understandably, most children who loose their hearing after cancer are emotionally and developmentally affected if their hearing is never restored to normal. Hearing loss after chemo leads to isolation and depression mainly because children can no longer retain their spoken language.
A magnetic injection delivery system developed by Otomagnetics, LLC is a game changer for children undergoing chemo, who are at risk for hearing loss. The technology promises to safely, effectively, and non-invasively deliver medicines to the inner ear during chemotherapy regimens, without impacting the anti-tumor action of the chemotherapy.
What is the key product development milestone you seek to fund?
The next critical milestone for Otomagnetics is to improve our magnetic delivery system and test the next version of our system in large animal models. Data from this study will be used towards FDA approval for a clinical trial. The duration of the study will take approximately 9 months and will involve an engineer, to update the design of the magnetic devices, a life scientist to conduct the animal study and measure drug accumulation, and various materials and supplies for synthesizing the nano particles needed for our delivery system.
How will funds be used?
Funds will be used to validate safety and effectiveness in pre-clinical studies. To select the dose and magnet use for optimal protection of hearing from chemotherapy regimens. This kind of data is required to progress towards FDA approval.
What key resources have/will you acquire to facilitate the accomplishment of the above R&D milestone?
Otomagnetics has already established proof of principle testing for the nano-particles and magnetic devices we have developed. Further, we have been awarded a major NIH SBIR contract to conduct dosing studies using our current version of the magnetic delivery system.
If your technology were to disappear in the “Valley of Death” funding gap, how might this impact society?
We believe magnetic delivery systems can revolutionize the ease and effectiveness of delivering medicines to areas of the body that are traditionally difficult to treat. For children who are at risk of losing their hearing due to chemo, this technology is long overdue. Needless to say, if Otomagntics’ technology were to fall in the valley of death, children in need are less likely to remain in the “hearing world.” This would be devastating for them and their parents.
My goal is to use my engineering knowledge to work with doctors to improve the care of patients. Magnetic injection for delivery was invented in my lab, in response to a clinical need to deliver medications to hard-to-reach targets in the body (e.g. to the cochlea, to protect hearing from chemo regimens). I oversee engineering and science for the company, and head the technical team. I've lived on 3 different continents, and every year I try to travel to a country I haven’t yet visited, to be exposed to new people, food, and cultures (29 countries so far). I hope our technology will be able to help people, both here in the US and abroad.
I have been and will continue to use my knowledge as a chemist to assist in the development of magnetic nanoparticles to deliver drugs to hard-to-reach targets in the body. I have over 30 years experience researching and developing magnetic nanoparticles as Senior Vice President of Scientific Operations at AMAG Pharmaceuticals. At AMAG we were able to get several magnetic nanoparticle drugs approved with the FDA. I was both an Eagle Scout and served as a Boy Scout leader for many years.
As a pediatric and adult ear surgeon, I have many patients with ear disease who would benefit from targeted, active delivery of medication to the middle and inner ears without a needle. The magnetic nano-therapeutic delivery system that is being developed by Otomagnetics provides a novel, new way to achieve precise, active delivery of various agents to hard to reach organs. Possibilities seem almost limitless and include treatments for middle ear infections, sudden hearing loss, acoustic trauma, Meniere’s disease, tinnitus, ototoxic exposure such as during chemotherapy, and protection of residual hearing during cochlear implant surgery, just to name a few. It is very exciting for me to think about the far reaching implications of this technology for the treatment of many disease processes. Magnetic nano-therapeutics has the potential to be a genuine game changer. I am honored to be a part of the team.
I am leading Otomagnetics’ product development cycle to expedite our magnetic syringe technology towards FDA clinical trials. Using my background as a chemist and materials scientist, my goal is to optimize and scale up our novel nanoparticle based medicine to help treat patients across the country. I am the first person in my family to receive a college degree. I love cooking and eating cuisines from around the world, and I hope to visit the home countries of the food I prepare.
I am a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Advanced Biopharma Consulting (ABC), a strategic advisory firm that offers business development, and commercialization services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries. Previously, I served as the Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at Admac Group of Companies, wherein I managed a product portfolio encompassing 150 generics, including antibiotics and oncology drugs, and was instrumental in setting up an ISO-9001 and WHO-GMP certified, 40,000 sq. feet oncology manufacturing facility in 2012. I am a Co-Founder and former COO of Navya Biomedical Technologies, a biotechnology company developing and commercializing PHF for destruction of solid tumors.
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