[Mountain View, CA] July 22nd, 2020
Respira Labs Awarded $350K Grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Respira Labs is honored to announce that we have been awarded a National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant for $350,000 to continue conducting research and development (R&D) work on a smart wearable patch for dynamic measurements of air trapping (AT) in the lungs and a 60-person validation trial with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) cases and controls (against the clinical gold standard) with UCSF and the San Francisco VA Medical Centers.

To enhance this technology and gain FDA approval, founder and CEO of Respira Labs, Dr. Maria Artunduaga, will be joining a selective group of federal funded investigators at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of the most prestigious medical research institutions in the world. The NHLBI STTR grant brings Respira Labs one step closer to the fight against chronic lung diseases, like COPD and Covid.

Respira Labs is very grateful and honored to have received this grant. The NHLBI employs a 7-step rigorous review system on applications to “ensure only the most meritorious scientific proposals are funded” (NHBLI). In addition to two levels of review, applications are judged based on their significance in the field, competence of investigators, innovation, overall approach, and the chances of success given the current scientific environment. Respira Labs did outstanding in all of these criteria.

Evaluators left positive comments on the proposal's high significance, expertise of team members, novel approach, strong scientific rigor of clinical studies, and excellent scientific environment. The application was deemed to be excellent with a high potential impact for early detection of COPD exacerbations (COPDe) and Sylvee, the current wearable device prototype, was said to have substantial impact on COPDe outcomes. Given that in 2019, only 20% of technology grants went to female-owned companies, this is a milestone not just for Respira Labs, but also for women in STEM.

To learn more about the NIH STTR Program visit, https://sbir.nih.gov/


COPD Relevance

COPD is the third leading cause of hospitalization in the US. More than 12 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, and another 17 million may have COPD, but are unaware of it. Of the $72 billion spent on COPD care each year, approximately half is spent on COPDe, in the form of ER visits/hospitalization.

Thus, the clinical significance is high, in that COPDe predicts increased hospitalizations which not only increase COPD care costs but also predict worsening outcomes in terms of short-term morbidity and mortality.


AT in the lungs has been found to increase during these COPDe, hence Respira Labs is developing a dynamic unobtrusive wearable device that measures abnormal AT which would reduce hospitalizations through at-home monitoring of lung function.


COVID Relevance

The NHBLI STTR grant brings Respira Labs one step closer to the fight against chronic lung diseases, like COPD and Covid. It has been found that 1/3 of recovered Coronavirus patients develop AT in the long term. This condition exacerbates the sequela in pulmonary patients through the deterioration of the lungs ability to work well and the negative effect on one's quality of life. Due to this, COVID is expected to increase the prevalence of chronic respiratory diseases by 25%.


About Respira Labs

Respira Labs is developing the first wearable device to measure air trapping, a marker of COPD progression and COPD attacks. Respira Labs aims to save lives and revolutionize COPD management, significantly improving patient’s quality of life. For this reason, we are developing the first wearable device equipped with early diagnosis of COPD exacerbation attacks in real-time. The core technology combines lung physiology, signal processing, connected sensors, and Machine Learning.


If you are diagnosed with COPD and are interested in taking part of clinical trials for Respira Labs, please contact UCSF Professor Mehrdad Arjomandi at Mehrdad.Arjomandi@ucsf.edu and visit his lab website at https://arjomandilab.ucsf.edu/


If you are interested in working for Respira Labs, please contact Dr. Maria Artunduaga



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Respira Labs Awarded $350K Grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

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