This story first appeared on sister site Pop City.
Alung Technologies, on the South Side, is breathing new life into ailing lungs and ramping up to be the region’s next successful life science story.
Having picked up $15.8 million in its most recent financing round—one of the largest venture rounds in the region’s life science industry—the company is preparing for growth on many levels. The company has raised $56 million to date.
“This is a huge transition phase for the company from a medical device to a commercial stage company,” says Peter DeComo, CEO.
Alung moved into the 15,000 square-foot office on Jane Street three years ago, a space large enough to serve as its global headquarters and a manufacturing center for the Hemolung Respiratory Assist System.
DeComo is negotiating on another 11,000 square feet on the second floor to make room for more engineers, a sales staff and administration. Alung currently employs 45 people and is turning out 10 controllers and 40 artificial lungs a month.
“You don’t take a shotgun approach to commercialization,” says DeComo, who has been down this path before, most recently with Renal Solutions, which was acquired by Fresenius Medical Care in 2007. “It’s a slow process. You want to start slow and controlled, stress the technology and validate the therapy.”
The Hemolung provides respiratory dialysis to patients suffering from critical lung diseases. The system was approved for the European market four months ago and is established in 12 hospitals in Germany, the United Kingdom and France.
While many companies at this stage might elect to outsource the manufacturing piece, Alung is content to stay in the South Side and grow into a fully integrated medical equipment company.
The composition of the artificial lungs is a closely guarded trade secret, one Alung would like to protect, says DeComo.
Alung plans to expand to the Middle East, Latin America, Southeast Asia and South Africa by the end of 2014. The U.S. clinical trial is underway.
“Pittsburgh has all the right resources for a company to be successful,” he adds. “You can be a big fish in a small sea. The infrastructure and organizations are tremendous.”
DEB SMIT is Innovation & Jobs News editor for sister publication Pop City in Pittsburgh. Send feedback here.