Third Pole's Device Generate Unlimited Nitric Oxide To Treat Newborns Worldwide

Third Pole's Device Generate Unlimited Nitric Oxide To Treat Newborns Worldwide
Every year, thousands of newborns require nitric oxide (NO) to treat Hypoxic Respiratory Failure. However, the availability of the treatment has been limited by size, weight and complexity of equipment needed to administer the gas, in addition to costing an average of $14,000 per neonate. NO therapy involves gas cylinders and distribution, a complex delivery device, gas monitoring and calibration equipment, and a trained respiratory therapy staff. This current system is impractical, and developing a new solution could increase access to treatment and make it available in parts of the world that don’t have the resources that are currently required.

The San Francisco-based startup Third Pole is determined to revolutionize the delivery of NO. Their first product is capable of creating an unlimited supply of pure NO on-demand, providing access to life-saving therapy without requiring compressed gas cylinders. The new lightweight, portable system can economically produce NO from the nitrogen and oxygen in the air using an electric spark from an iridium electrode. Since the generation of NO by an electric spark also can produce the toxic gases nitrogen dioxide and ozone, along with metal fragments from the electrode, the device use calcium hydroxide and air filters to absorb and remove those byproducts. In trials, the electrically created NO was as effective as tank-delivered gas in relieving pulmonary hypertension.

Prototype of NO generator. Air is taken in through the  inlet on the left and passes by the electrode at the top  of the vertical segment, where a series of sparks  generates NO gas. The cylindrical chamber contains  calcium hydroxide and a filter to remove toxic byproducts  before the NO-enriched air exits on the right to be inhaled  by the patient. Credit: Brian Wilson, Massachusetts  General Hospital Photography Department

NO is a gas produced by the body to relax the smooth muscle around blood vessels. Inhaled NO has in the last two decades become a standard of care for millions of people worldwide, including infants with acute pulmonary hypertension. However, the currently available tank-based system of delivering gaseous NO is cumbersome, limiting treatment to the largest hospitals in developed regions. Third Pole’s revolutionary technology electronically generates pure, unlimited NO at point-of-care and on demand from air, enabling the use of inhaled NO worldwide. It could significantly increase access to life-saving treatments for newborns, children and adults who desperately need the treatment to survive. The innovative technology would make NO therapy available in parts of the world that don’t have the resources that are currently required, and could potentially even be used as at home. In addition, NO has been explored as treatment for multiple conditions, including malaria, heart attacks and stroke, and the startup’s disruptive delivery system could allow trials of other important uses and new therapies.

Third Pole was founded by David Zapol in 2014, and has since secured angel investment along with two SBIR awards and B-BIC award. In May 2017, the startup announced they had won Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s JLABS @ M2D2 QuickFire Challenge, awarding them one year of paid residence at the University of Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center. With this backing, they are working to launch their disruptive NO delivery system over the next two years.