Breathe Easy poised to take Citramel into trial

May 7, 2015

Breathe Easy Therapeutics is funded to start cystic fibrosis trials, which is evidence that investors are once again developing an appetite for higher risk investments with higher return.

The medicine development company has just closed a successful million dollar plus fundraising round and has just announced an extension to the crowdfunding component to May 18 so that sizeable investors have time to place the funding required. Breathe Easy is using crowdfunding platform Snowball Effect to raise the final $350,000 needed to take its new cystic fibrosis therapy, Citramel, into Phase 1/IIa clinical trial. The appointment of a seasoned expert as Independent Chairman and a new Chair of its Scientific Advisory Board adds to its momentum.

Citramel is a promising medical treatment for the 75,000 children and adults worldwide with cystic fibrosis, who represent a billion dollar plus medicine market. CEO Andrea Miller says the company is a Kiwi-borne enterprise driven by people with firsthand experience with cystic fibrosis.

“Both the inventor of the medicine and the team who run Breathe Easy in Auckland, have been touched by cystic fibrosis personally. It’s heartening to see this investment opportunity being taken up by a mix of everyday people wanting to make a social difference as retail investors, alongside a mix of Angel organisations, larger private investors, corporate and institutional funders. It is a truly unique opportunity.

Crowdfunding for Breathe Easy’s offer will close at 9pm on May 18th with shares for a minimum $1000 investment from individual public investors.  More information is available at

“We are building rapidly with the recent appointment of Independent Chairman Dr Gary Pace who brings serious fire power from his decades of experience as a successful entrepreneur of life science ventures.  He has taken several companies like ours from clinical trials through to successful registrations, trade sales or IPO, and his vision is simple – provide an attractive return to investors through delivering results.”Andrea Miller says while securing funding is critical, the long-term development of the company has also made some significant gains.

Dr Pace says there is a resurgence of interest in biotech investments in the United States and Kiwi companies like Breathe Easy understand that successful commercialisation of life sciences in US is key to their success.

“I have a broad and deep knowledge of drug development and long term Board experience through the evolution of a highly successful healthcare company, ResMed, so I will be honing that expertise to the benefit of Breathe Easy.

“Having earlier worked on the targets of the Breathe Easy therapeutic, Citramel, I believe this medicine has a good chance of showing significant clinical value at trial.  The benefit of developing this medicine in New Zealand is that the trials are simple and quick to do there. If the concept is proven then my base in the US becomes advantageous in that most firms benefit from a US partner and most drugs are first registered with the US FDA and marketed here, which requires a senior presence representing the company in the US.”

Recognised in 2014 as New Zealand’s Biotechnologist of the Year, Dr Tan has more than 20 years experience in senior positions in the biotechnology industry in Australia and New Zealand where he has worked with clinicians and regulatory authorities across global markets in clinical trials and research.Dr Pace is joined by the appointment of Dr Paul Tan as Chair of the company’s Scientific Advisory Board.  Dr Tan is already working alongside the company’s scientific team which is benefiting from his significant expertise.

“Dr Tan’s pedigree is already bringing tremendous value to our Scientific Advisory team and his expertise in clinical trials across multiple conditions will be a true asset,” Andrea Miller says.

“These appointments are vital to our growth and expertise and we are privileged to have such guidance available to us on an ongoing basis.”

It’s been a busy few months for Breathe Easy. It is completing administration to develop Citramel in its Timaru plant and the recruitment of the first candidates for Phase 1 is about to start, with the trial beginning in Christchurch in June.

Citramel is in liquid form and delivered by nebuliser to inhale into the lungs of those with cystic fibrosis. Early signs of efficacy are present in a compassionate case where a cystic fibrosis patient was on Citramel for almost two years, with no adverse effects.

Christchurch Clinical Studies Principal Investigator Dr Chris Wynne, says this is the first New Zealand trial of its kind on adults with cystic fibrosis.

“If Citramel proves to be effective, it could make a huge difference to the quality of life in many patients around the world,” said Dr Wynne.

Andrea Miller says the future for Citramel is exciting not just for its potential impact on cystic fibrosis symptoms, but also for its potential to treat other respiratory diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which affects 320 million people worldwide.


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