Former P&Gers develop new drug for Blue Ash Therapeutics, gain $2 million in startup funds

Procter & Gamble may have exited the pharmaceutical making business but some of the talent behind its drug development continues to create in Cincinnati.

Blue Ash Pharmaceuticals, a startup, is on the verge of a major breakthrough with $2 million in recently secured financing and a new heart-related drug in the final stages of FDA approval.

The company was co-founded by pharmaceutical industry veterans Greg Flexter and Kevin Malloy. The pair secured the license for the anti-arrhythmic drug Azimilide from Procter & Gamble and then from Warner Chilcott, which bought P&G Pharmaceuticals last year. The company was formed to keep drug development know-how in Cincinnati.

An extended network of former P&G scientists and physicians worked to develop Azimilide, which aims to help stabilize heart rhythms in patients that have an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, or ICD. Though ICDS can prevent heart attacks and death, the resulting pace setting shocks can lead to complications and pain that can worsen symptoms and require increased hospitalization.

"There is currently no approved anti-arrhythmic drug for ICD patients," said Malloy, a 25-year P&G pharmaceutical veteran. "Instead, doctors are using off-label generic drugs that are poorly tolerated and have serious irreversible side effects. Azimilide is an oral once-a-day drug intended to help ICD patients by reducing the need for pacing and shocks and reducing ER visits/hospitalizations and improving overall quality of life."

Azimilide is only one step away from FDA approval. The company has received startup funding from  CincyTech, Queen City Angels, Ohio Third Frontier/Cleveland Clinic and New York City investors.

"We are looking forward to the future of Blue Ash Therapeutics and our partnership with CincyTech and the rest of our team of investors," said Flexter, former CEO of Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals in Newport, Ky. "Azimilide has a lot of potential in a promising marketplace, and we are eager to complete the journey for a drug that's been a major part of many people's scientific careers."

Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: CincyTech
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