Sharklet Awarded Research Grant for Development of Textured Endotracheal Tube to Reduce VAP

Sharklet Technologies, Inc. announces that it has been awarded a $1.8 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health for the development of a Sharklet-textured endotracheal tube that would inhibit bacterial growth on the surface of the device with the intent to reduce the risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP).

During this extension of its SBIR Phase I research, Sharklet Technologies will evaluate the effectiveness of Sharklet-textured tubing for inhibiting bacterial biofilm development of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and other bacterial species commonly associated with VAP. The project will also support a clinical pilot study with 20 patients randomized to Sharklet-textured and control endotracheal tubes, with the goal of demonstrating reduced bacterial colonization on the Sharklet-textured devices.

"We are pleased to receive this significant award as it validates our use of a novel topography-based, non-chemical approach to inhibit bacterial biofilm development," says Dr. Shravanthi Reddy, director of research at Sharklet Technologies who serves as principal investigator for the project. "Our goal in this research aligns with our company vision -- to advance healthcare technology through use of micro-texture and a chemistry-free approach to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs."

VAP is a lung infection that develops in a person who is placed on a ventilator which aids breathing by giving oxygen through a tube placed through the mouth. An infection may occur if bacteria enter through the tube and form a biofilm on the tube surface. Pneumonia is the second most common hospital-acquired infection affecting about 27 percent of all critically ill patients. Between 250,000 and 300,000 cases per year occur in the United States alone. A study conducted in 2010 estimates that VAP increases care costs by $30,000 per patient stay.

"Sharklet represents a breakthrough in bacterial control and the culmination of years of work in determining how surface topography can impact microorganism growth," says Mark Spiecker, chief executive officer of Sharklet Technologies. "We are pleased to receive this award as it underscores the importance of introducing new non-kill technologies to advance our standards for healthcare especially as it pertains to infection prevention."

Sharklet Technologies' board of directors chairman Joe Bagan echoed Spiecker's comments. "We continue to demonstrate that textured surfaces can play a significant role in the way we manage microorganisms. We are proud to be on the cutting edge of infection control in finding innovative alternatives to solving some of the world's greatest challenges."

Research reported in this publication is supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44HL110444. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Source: Sharklet Technologies, Inc.