Aerogen plans global move into emergency departments

Study shows Galway company’s aerosol drug delivery tech can reduce hospital admissions

John Power, CEO of Aerogen: The company made a pretax profit of €10.1 million in 2015, on revenue of €40 million

John Power, CEO of Aerogen: The company made a pretax profit of €10.1 million in 2015, on revenue of €40 million

 

Galway-based medical technology and drug-delivery company Aerogen plans to expand its business into emergency departments in hospitals worldwide.

Aerogen’s aerosol drug delivery devices are already widely used in intensive care units (ICUs). The company is now hailing research that suggests its technology can reduce the medication required by patients who attend emergency departments with respiratory-related conditions and cut their rate of admissions to hospital.

A study led by Dr Robert Dunne, vice-chair of emergency medicine at St John Hospital & Medical Center in Detroit, was presented at a major respiratory care medical conference in San Antonio, Texas at the weekend.

The research compared the impact of delivering bronchodilator (or airway-widening) drugs through Aerogen’s aerosols system with the impact of doing so using traditional nebulisers.

It found that the Aerogen system reduced emergency department admissions by 32 per cent, with patients requiring 75 per cent less medication.

Potential breakthrough

John Power

“This study is really pivotal for us to get into the emergency department,” said Mr Power, speaking from the American Association for Respiratory Care Congress in San Antonio.

People who suffer asthma attacks may use traditional nebulisers at home, but if they are not effective, they go to emergency departments, where they are typically “treated with the same thing”, he said. A more effective treatment not only helps the patient, it brings an economic benefit to the hospital, he added.

Aerogen’s devices are based on patented vibrating mesh technology that turns liquid medication into a fine particle mist, allowing drugs to be delivered to the lungs of critically ill patients. They are used in ICUs in conjunction with ventilators produced by major manufacturers such as Philips Healthcare, GE Healthcare and Covidien.

New product

Aerogen employs 140 people, more than half of them in Galway, and continues to recruit.

The 19-year-old company, which was the first in the world to develop an aerosol system for delivering drugs effectively to respirators, has recorded 30 per cent growth in its business year-on-year for the past eight years. In 2015, it made a pretax profit of €10.1 million on revenue of €40 million.

Its devices are used in 75 countries, with its customers including 80 per cent of hospitals in Ireland and 60 per cent of the top 100 hospitals in the US.

Mr Power said he had no plans to sell the company or embark on an initial public offering (IPO). “I’m the majority shareholder and there’s no desire to sell the business. My plan is to grow it.”