Qnovia has raised $17 million to continue development of its RespiRx nicotine-replacement product, reports Richmond Business Sense.
RespiRx is a portable, hand-held nebulizer, a powered medical device that delivers medicine as an inhaled mist and is similar to an inhaler. The device is designed to deliver a nicotine hit more quickly than existing therapies, thus enabling users to better manage withdrawals and, therefore, increase the likelihood of smoking cessation.
Qnovia was founded in 2018 in Los Angeles by Mario Danek as Respira Technologies and rebranded in September. In May, the company appointed former Altria executive Brian Quigley as CEO and Danek as chief technology officer.
The company also moved to Richmond, Virginia, in part because that state offers a more business-friendly environment, according to Quigley, whose tobacco career included a six-year stint as CEO of Altria’s U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. subsidiary.
In addition, many of the partners the company works with are on the East Coast. Qnovia contracts with a Boston manufacturer to make its device and a firm in Pennsylvania to create the medicine administered through the device.
Qnovia will use the newly raised funds to develop a proof of concept for RespiRx as a nicotine-replacement therapy product and move it through an FDA approval process before the anticipated start of human clinical trials in 2023.
The product is expected to hit the market as a prescription treatment. Qnovia is also interested in exploring how RespiRx can be used for asthma, pain management, vaccines and other uses.