A biotechnology company that develops bioengineered organ implants to treat life-threatening conditions of the esophagus, bronchus and trachea, Biostage, Inc., today announced it has been awarded a Fast-Track Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant by the Eunice Kennedy National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The NICHD, which is part of the National Institute of Health, awarded Biostage the grant as part of its mission to “ensure that every person is born healthy and wanted, and that all children have the chance to achieve their full potential for healthy and productive lives.” The grant funding will support Biostage’s development and preclinical testing of its Cellspan Esophageal Implant (CEI) for treatment of pediatric esophageal atresia. Biostage’s Sumati Sundaram, PhD and Christine Finck, MD, FACS, Surgeon-In-Chief at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center are the principle investigators on this grant.

The company reports the funds for this Fast Track SBIR grant will be released in two parts. An initial Phase I award of $225,000 will be granted in the near term. Assuming that this phase of the project is successful, and funding is available, Phase II of the project would support pre-clinical testing of pediatric CEIs planned to begin later this year. Together, the total grant has the potential to provide a total of $1.7 million in nondilutive financial resources.

“The SBIR grant program is incredibly competitive and winning this grant is another validation of our therapeutic approach and Biostage’s mission to radically improve the surgical treatment of children suffering from esophageal atresia,” said, Jim McGorry, CEO of Biostage. He added, “Biostage is working with Connecticut Children’s to develop an innovative solution for the treatment of children with esophageal atresia by using our Cellframe™ technology. We believe that our technology provides a novel approach and that our collaboration will advance a product to the clinic.”

Dr. Christine Finck, Surgeon-In-Chief, Connecticut Children’s, concluded, “Our hospital is committed to translating this novel technology to the clinic to address esophageal atresia in children.  There is a tremendous unmet medical need for kids suffering with pediatric esophageal atresia in Connecticut and across the world.  This technology shows promise of one day dramatically improving their care and condition. This grant will support scientific rigor as we optimize and get ready for FDA submission.”