CytoSorb® is a potentially breakthrough critical care immunotherapy that attempts to address one of the most challenging unmet medical needs in medicine…the ability to prevent or mitigate multiple organ failure - the leading cause of death in the intensive care unit (ICU) from any cause.
In response to life-threatening conditions such as sepsis and infection, trauma, serious burn injuries, severe lung injury, and pancreatitis, the body frequently overreacts and produces a massive excess of cytokines, or “cytokine storm”. Cytokines normally help the body cope with injury, but at these levels, cytokine storm is toxic to the body, driving severe inflammation and a cascade of pathophysiologic changes in the body that cause cell damage, organ failure and often death. It follows that reduction of cytokine storm may limit this cascade of events, thereby reducing the severity of illness, and helping patients recover and survive. Until recently, however, there were no effective ways to reduce cytokine storm broadly.
CytoSorb® is a first-in-class extracorporeal cytokine adsorber, now approved in the European Union, and broadly indicated for use in any clinical situation where cytokines are elevated. It is compatible with standard hemodialysis machines and blood pumps found in most hospitals. Blood is pumped out of the body, through the CytoSorb® cartridge that contains the company’s proprietary blood compatible porous polymer beads, and the “purified” blood is recirculated back to the patient. In a six hour period, a patient's entire blood volume can be treated approximately 20 times.
CytoSorb® is clinically proven to reduce cytokines in the company's multi-center, randomized, controlled European Sepsis Trial conducted in Germany. Treatment was safe and well-tolerated in more than 300 human treatments in very sick patients with the worst forms of sepsis and lung injury, and treatment has been safe in nearly 4,000 human treatments overall. Early data suggests that CytoSorb® can reduce organ injury and improve survival in patients at high risk of cytokine injury, particularly those patients with very high cytokine levels, and patients older than age 65.
CytoSorb® has now been used successfully in many conditions where deadly inflammation can lead to organ injury and failure. We are seeing strong interest in the following clinical applications:
There are more than 150 key opinion leaders in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (our direct sales territories) who are either using or committed to using CytoSorb in clinical practice or clinical studies. More than 40 investigator-initiated studies in a diverse set of applications are being planned, with many already enrolling patients. In the United States, the U.S. Air Force is funding a 30-patient, FDA-approved randomized controlled human trauma pilot study.
As these other independent studies progress, CytoSorbents collaborates with Dr. John Kellum at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and is sponsoring clinical studies in the area of severe sepsis and septic shock, the result of an overzealous immune response to a severe infection such as pneumonia or a ruptured appendix. Severe sepsis and septic shock are collectively a top ten cause of death worldwide, afflicting approximately 27 million people annually, killing approximately 1 in 3 patients despite the best medical care. CytoSorbents is conducting clinical trials in Europe and currently has an FDA-approved IDE application to run a small sepsis trial in the U.S..
Because of the versatility of CytoSorb®, there are many other potential applications of the technology outside of critical care medicine as well. In particular, CytoSorb® has been used many times intraoperatively during open heart surgery, where the heart must be stopped in order to operate on it, while the blood is pumped outside of the body by a heart-lung machine that oxygenates the blood and pumps it back to the rest of the body. This procedure can result in the production of inflammatory mediators such as cytokines, as well as hemolysis and the release of free hemoglobin into the blood. This can result in inflammation and post-operative complications such as failure to wean from mechanical ventilation and kidney failure. There are more than 1 million open heart surgeries each year in the U.S. and E.U. combined, with an addressable market of more than $1 billion for CytoSorb®. CytoSorbents plans to initiate human trials in the U.S. in 2015 using CytoSorb® intra-operatively during cardiac surgery to seek U.S. regulatory approval.
Another application is in cancer immunotherapy. Cancer cachexia is a wasting condition that occurs in most cancers that leads to rapid uncontrolled weight loss, anorexia, and physical debilitation. Patients lose the physical reserve needed to tolerate treatment and fight the cancer. Because CytoSorb® can remove a broad range of cytokines and other inflammatory mediators that drive cancer cachexia, it may be very helpful in this condition. CytoSorbents is exploring this application, as well as the use of CytoSorb® as a primary cancer immunotherapy to kickstart the immune system to attack cancer, with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.
CytoSorb® is being sold for clinical use in the European Union and marketed in countries outside of the European Union that accept European CE Mark approval such as India, Russia, Turkey, the Middle East, Taiwan and others. The total addressable market for CytoSorb® in critical care applications such as sepsis, burn injury, trauma, ARDS, pancreatitis and other diseases is estimated at $10-15 Billion in the U.S. and Europe alone.
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