The motivation to develop a new line of therapies for obstructive respiratory disorders began in 1995. Dr. John Butt, the Alberta Chief Medical Examiner at the time, was approached by the federal government to investigate the extremely high death rate in young Albertans due to acute asthma. In addition to the known risk factors, he found that 80% of deaths occurred suddenly when there was no opportunity to access medical care. That is, their asthma rapidly went from stable to deadly before they could receive emergency attention.
The deaths were characterized by massive, obstructive mucous plugs compounded by broncho-constriction and airway wall thickening. As most asthmatics in the study had access to their rescue ß2-agonist bronchodilator medication at the time of the fatal attack, it became apparent that the blocked airways were not being penetrated by the treatments. Rather, the inhaled drugs were being diverted into already open airways rendering them ineffective while the person died from a lack of oxygen.
A University of Calgary research team consisting of Dr. Samuel Schurch, Dr. Francis Green and Dr. Tamer El Mays sought to solve the problem with a new approach that took into account both the pharmacological and biophysical properties of severe asthma. Over the years, the testing of numerous formulations resulted in the discovery of S-1226 and platform technology ideas with applications in numerous diseases characterized by obstructed airways. Since those initial studies, the formal company, SolAeroMed Inc., has been formed, and has been gaining momentum in its development of respiratory therapies that have the potential to revolutionize respiratory rescue treatment.