OrPro Therapeutics announced today that it is expanding its patented technology platform for treatment of acute and chronic respiratory diseases, including cystic fibrosis (CF), to address the immediate threat posed by COVID-19. In recognition of the broad potential of this approach to address key treatment gaps in airway inflammation and clearance, OrPro has been selected as a 2020 Cool Company (https://connect.org/cool-companies/) by Connect with San Diego Venture Group (SDVG). This year, 296 startups applied for the opportunity to showcase their technology to national venture capital firms and local investors. OrPro is among the elite group of 30 life science companies to be selected.
"We received a record number of applications from extraordinary companies for the 'Cool Companies' program this year," stated Mike Krenn, president and CEO of Connect w/ SDVG. "OrPro and the other finalists truly stand out among the San Diego innovators addressing today's unmet needs."
OrPro Therapeutics is developing ORP100S, a new type of drug to treat inflammation and obstruction in the lung associated with both chronic airway disorders and progression to severe COVID-19 disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection. Due to the urgent need to respond to the pandemic, especially for broad-spectrum approaches that overcome many of the limitations of vaccines, antivirals and antibody-based drugs, ORP100S is poised for accelerated COVID-19 clinical development. ORP100S is delivered by inhalation and is planned for home use with the objective of reducing COVID-19 severity and the need for hospitalization.
To assist in advancing its lead product, ORP100S, pharmaceutical industry veteran Ken Wilke has joined the OrPro Therapeutics management team in a Strategy and Operations leadership role. Ken has over 30 years of experience, including 25 years at Merck, and a proven track record directing strategic initiatives, research and development projects, and operations. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Stanford University and a Master of Business Administration from Lehigh University.
"Being chosen as a 2020 Cool Company is a great accomplishment that reflects the hard work of our team to develop a potentially game-changing technology for treatment of respiratory diseases ranging from cystic fibrosis to COVID-19," said Peter B. Heifetz, Ph.D, OrPro President and CEO. "Ken's expertise in research and development, operations, and pharma project management will be critical as we prepare to move ORP100S into the clinic."
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