Donor Lungs Ready for Transplant Is Goal of Toronto Start-up Supported by $2.6M from XENiOS

Margarida Azevedo, MSc avatar

by Margarida Azevedo, MSc |

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Medical device company XENiOS recently announced that it has invested $2.6 million in XOR-Labs Toronto, a spin-off of Toronto General Hospital at University Health Network (UHN), a world-leading center for lung transplantation. The startup company’s organ repair technology has the potential to help thousands of patients suffering from respiratory diseases, including pulmonary fibrosis, and in urgent need of lung transplantation.

The XOR Labs Toronto system draws on technology, such as gene therapy and cell therapy, to assess and repair of donor lungs deemed unusable, and may substantially increase the amount of lungs available for transplantation. The commercial system is based on Toronto Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion (Toronto EVLP) system, which has been used over 200 times over the past six years at UHN, and it is approved by Health Canada.

Clinical data on the Toronto EVLP system, previously published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggest that this technique can approximately double the availability of donated lungs and significantly reduce the economic costs of transplantation. Several reports highlight the urgent nature of this need, as the shortage of safe and suitable lungs for transplantation is a factor in the death of an estimated 20 percent of all lung transplant candidates awaiting surgery.

“XOR’s system will be a game-changer, since it will enable clinicians all around the world to use advanced techniques developed and perfected in Toronto, including gene and stem cell therapy, to make more lungs available for transplant and to make the transplanted lungs even better than the ones available today,” Shaf Keshavjee, MD, a co-founder of  XOR Labs and a transplant surgeon at UHN, said in a press release. “All of this will improve patient care and reduce transplant waiting lists.”

Lung transplantation is a means of treating a range of diseases, including  pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“The XOR team has most certainly transformed the lung-transplant world. By developing a platform to allow personalized medicine for the organs themselves, they will also affect the treatment of numerous diseases of lungs and other organs. Given XENiOS’s focus on cutting-edge lung-and-heart-assist therapies and immediate commercial reach, partnering with XOR is a very positive addition to our product family,” said Georg Matheis, MD, managing director and founder of XENiOS.