Fifteen investors backed development-stage biotechnology company Vital Therapies in a $22.5 million funding round to support the company’s ongoing ELAD research & development program manufacturing bio-artificial livers based on human cells.
The San Diego, Calif.-based company, which was founded 10 years ago, hopes its ELAD artificial liver may help stabilize liver function in treatment of patients with acute organ failure, hepatitis B and alcohol hepatitis. Vital Therapies in April also launched a phase III trial comparing ELAD treatment to the standard-of-care in patients with alcohol-induced liver deterioration.
ELAD is a system of lumen catheters, plasma circuits, and fluid recirculation components that functionally overrides a failing liver to detoxify blood and create proteins.
"The ELAD System, continuously separates plasma from cellular components by using an "ultrafiltrate" generator," according to the company. "While the cellular components are returned to the patient via the venous access, the ultrafiltrate is circulated through a set of ELAD cartridges containing the C3A cells and hollow fibers… After circulation through the cartridges, the ultrafiltrate then flows through filters prior to recombining with the cellular components of the patient’s blood and returning to the patient."
The system has been developed to provide continuous support for up to 30 days to give a patient’s ailing live time to heal or carry a patient over until a donor liver can be transplanted.
If trial results are successful and regulatory approvals in the U.S. and EU go smoothly, the company said that it hopes to put ELAD on the shelves by 2016.