The National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute has awarded a Phase I small business innovation research (SBIR) grant to Paragonix Technologies for the pre-clinical development of the Paragonix Sherpa cardiac transport system.

"Successful completion of the Phase I SBIR grant, will enable a SBIR Phase II application for up to $1,000,000."

The single-use, fully disposable organ preservation cardiac transport system, which eliminates problems associated with maintenance, device transport and contamination, is designed to be used in conjunction with any of the currently available organ preservation solutions.

The projected ischemic time for the heart transplant recipients should not exceed four hours, limiting the distance available to transport a donor heart, according to The International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) guidelines.

Paragonix’s Sherpa system combines oxygenated perfusion of organs and safe organ storage for extending and altering the transportation range of ischemic time, from the current four hours to 12 hours.

Joren C. Madsen, Massachusetts General Hospital’s transplant centre director, will be a collaborating clinical investigator in the Phase I SBIR grant programme.

Paragonix chief operating officer and co-founder Lisa Maier said the milestone for completing the Phase I SBIR addresses the key question of extended donor heart preservation, for up to 12 hours, with the cardiac transport system.

"Dr. Madsen has extensive experience with animal transplant models and, together with the Paragonix Clinical Advisory Board (CAB), will be involved in the design of all experimental protocols and interpretation of the results," Maier added.

"I am excited to evaluate the Paragonix Sherpa cardiac transport system as we pursue the SBIR grant."

Successful completion of the Phase I SBIR grant, which is for a six month time period from July to December 2012, will enable a SBIR Phase II application for up to $1,000,000, according to the company.