Rockville biotech company receives $1 million from state for research -- Gazette.Net


A Rockville biotech will use a new $1 million investment from the state to support its research involving blood platelets.

The money will help the company continue researching applications for its patented method of freeze-drying blood platelets to significantly lengthen their usable life, CEO Stephen H. Willard said.

The money for Cellphire, which is on Key West Avenue, was announced June 10 by Gov. Martin O’Malley’s office. It comes from the Maryland Venture Fund, a state venture capital fund.

In the news release, O’Malley said Cellphire’s technology could potentially save lives around the world.

Cellphire is privately held and was established in 2006.

Platelets, the part of blood that lets it clot, can last about five days outside a donor’s body, Willard said. Cellphire’s technology allows the platelets to be freeze-dried and stored for up to three years.

The company received $57 million last year from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support a clinical trial on using platelets to treat people who have been exposed to radiation, Willard said.

Many people exposed to radiation die of internal bleeding because it destroys their blood’s platelets, he said.

The company also is experimenting with putting the dried platelets on bandages, which, Willard said, tests have shown can reduce bleeding by up to 80 percent.

Willard said he was impressed by the level of support Maryland gives to its businesses and has many strong programs to help them.

Cellphire will seek other money for research into applying its technology to other areas, including bone marrow and stem cells, he said.