Startup Velico nabs another $15.5M from BARDA for dried plasma tech

The U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) expects that startup Velico Medical could play a role in securing the nation's blood supply. It's working to develop a technology that could be used by regional blood centers to create dried plasma and platelet products that could be rehydrated to offer an alternative to frozen versions.

The expectation is that dried plasma would enable much more substantial storage for later use in any national emergency than frozen plasma. BARDA has exercised a contract option for $15.5 million, specifically to back the development of the dried plasma tech. The agency is building on a 2012 commitment it made to Velico for $8.9 million.

"We believe that BARDA's approval of the next phase of the contract reflects recognition of Velico's progress and the life-saving potential of this important technology," said Velico CEO Bill Skillman in prepared remarks. "Our partnership with BARDA has been collaborative, constructive and has resulted in jointly developed solutions to a number of development challenges. We believe this collaboration has and will continue to deliver significant value for both parties as we advance toward clinical trials."

Velico has Spray Dried Plasma technology (SpDPTM) that enables the storage of blood as dry powder, rather than the typical freezing, for subsequent rehydration. It's expected to be useful in hospital emergency rooms, operating suites and intensive care units--as well as in a military or field hospital setting.

"A dry plasma product is our greatest need right now, from field military operations to supporting emergency care in rural America to advancing the life-saving tool kit of Level I trauma centers," said Dr. Martin Schreiber, chief of trauma, critical care and acute care surgery at Oregon Health & Science University, in a statement.

- here is the announcement

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