CytoSorbents Delivers Technology to Calm the Storm
Our clients across the country are demonstrating remarkable resilience, innovation and creativity in this unusual year when COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives and businesses. Bridge Bank has put together some of these incredible stories that reinforce how businesses can rise to new heights even amid exceptional challenges. We are inspired and we hope you will be, too.
Before spring 2020, most people – certainly most non-medical professionals – could be forgiven for thinking a “cytokine storm” was a little-known tropical weather event.
But then again, before spring 2020, The New York Times, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal were not publishing news about how COVID-19 was causing some people’s immune systems to go into overdrive with deadly consequences – a phenomenon known as a cytokine storm.
One emerging medical technology company, New Jersey-based CytoSorbents Corporation, had a ready response. The 174-person company’s flagship product, CytoSorb®, is a blood purification technology designed to reduce the cytokine storm that could otherwise cause massive inflammation, organ failure and death in critically ill and cardiac surgery patients. CytoSorb is already approved in the European Union and sold in 67 countries worldwide.“For the past seven years, since commercializing the product, we’ve been working with physicians who are using our technology to treat patients with cytokine storm,” said Kathleen Bloch, chief financial officer at CytoSorbents Corporation. “Physicians who were familiar with our device in Germany, Italy, China and France realized immediately it could make a difference and were among the first users. We now have treated more than 4,500 COVID-19 patients across more than 30 countries during this pandemic.”
CytoSorb received Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Q2 2020 for use in adult, critically ill COVID-19 patients with imminent or confirmed respiratory failure. “It was gratifying for us to begin treating patients in the U.S., the home of our production facility, quality and R&D activities – where our headquarters are located,” said Bloch.
“We had two objectives to meet – we knew we needed to make more and more devices, and we also knew we needed to protect our workforce,” she added. “Our executives, administrative and clinical teams started working from home in mid-March, but our on-site production team needed to rapidly ramp up. Key changes included getting more personal protective equipment, reconfiguring certain aspects of the production process and adding two, full-length shifts on the weekends.”
According to Bloch, U.S. sales went from $0 to $667,000 in a matter of months. This frenzy of activity included taking orders from U.S. hospitals before the company even had an order-processing system in place in the United States. However, the company quickly adapted, leveraging the clinical and training resources it had from running clinical trials in the U.S., with people pitching in from other departments to support sales and with contributions by the extensive commercialization team in Europe.
“The most important thing to know,” said Bloch, “is that our product saves lives. We are all incredibly passionate about doing whatever we can to get our device into doctors’ hands to help patients. With COVID-19 physicians have a new awareness of cytokine storm and CytoSorb. We all hope the pandemic is contained as quickly as possible, and when COVID-19 does go away we hope to have gleaned valuable data to unlock other indications for our life-saving blood purification therapy.”
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