Aeromics, Inc. is a preclinical company developing the world’s first drug targeting a molecular water channel for the treatment of cerebral edema (brain swelling) in stroke. Each year 800,000 Americans and 880,000 Europeans suffer a new or recurrent stroke, 90% of which are ischemic. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the USA and the leading cause of disability. The annual medical costs are estimated at ~$70B in the U.S. and are expected to double by 2025 with aging of the population. Cerebral edema (CE) is predictive of patient outcome in ischemic strokes—and yet there are no approved therapeutics that effectively treat CE.
A paradigm shift in our understanding of water physiology was the discovery aquaporins, proteins that form water channels to allow water into and out of cells, by Peter Agre (2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry). Despite the vital role of aquaporins in maintaining water homeostasis and its implications in various disease states, therapeutic agents targeting aquaporins have remained elusive until now. Our drug candidate, AER-271, targets aquaporin-4 (AQP4), the primary water channel in the brain, and has best-in-class credentials for acute intravenous therapy for stroke-related cerebral edema. AER-271 blocks AQP4, the molecular water channel found at the blood-brain barrier, and has proven pharmacology demonstrating control of CE in models for ischemic stroke, cardiac arrest, and water toxicity. In addition, AQP4 is abundant in the heart, and AER-271 has been shown to significantly block edema in models of cardiac ischemia and transplant.