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File photo Francis Vachon/The Canadian Press/Press Association Images
premature babies

Irish firm hopes to save premature babies with new research

The company is developing a treatment for dangerously low blood pressure, also known as ‘neonatal shock’.

AN IRISH COMPANY has won more than €5million in funding to find ways to treat newborn premature babies who are critically ill.

The money will go towards research into hypotension, or low blood pressure, in low birth-weight infants. The condition, which is sometimes known as neonatal shock, can cause brain injury and even death.

BrePco Biopharma, along with an international consortium of universities, secured €5.66million partially from a European Commission healthcare programme. The firm plans to begin clinical trials with the aim of developing a new treatment for the condition. Current treatments are aimed at adults and are not licensed for use with premature babies.

Dr Eugene Dempsey, a consultant in Cork University Maternity Hospital who is chief investigator for the trial, said: “There is a pressing need to develop an appropriately licensed medical treatment for the paediatric population and in particular for the most vulnerable, the preterm infant. We are currently going through the clinical trial approval process and expect to commence clinical trials in Europe and Canada late this year.”

Paul Breen, co-founder of BrePco Biopharma, said the investment was a testament to the strength of the Irish pharmaceutical industry. “As this is a European and North American project being sponsored by an Irish company, it speaks volumes about the strength of our indigenous pharmaceutical industry and what we can offer to a global audience,” he said.

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