Middleton’s NitricGen offers new hope for diabetics
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It’s one of those “oh, wow” statistics that at first glance seems all but impossible to believe. Each year, diabetes sufferers endure more amputations than did all American soldiers in every major conflict since the start of the Civil War.
While there’s some evidence that diabetes patients’ prospects are slightly improving in this respect, the toll is nevertheless sobering: Year after year, about 80,000 Americans receive lower-extremity amputations as a result of foot ulcers.
That’s a number that Duncan Bathe would like to see go down – preferably sooner rather than later.
“... there would be blue babies, and you would give them nitric oxide and they would turn pink right in front of your eyes.” – Duncan Bathe, president, NitricGen
As president of Middleton’s NitricGen, Inc., Bathe is pouring his heart and soul into the problem, and people are beginning to take notice. Count among them the folks at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., which recently certified NitricGen for its Qualified New Business Venture tax credits program – a statewide initiative that makes investors in qualifying companies eligible for a 25% tax credit on the amount they invest in the businesses.
While NitricGen is still an early stage company that has yet to launch a product, its eNO Generator could ultimately prove revolutionary in the treatment of foot ulcers, potentially saving many patients from experiencing the sheer trauma of amputation. The concept is simple, and relies on one of the most abundant resources our planet has to offer: air.
The device is designed to break down oxygen and nitrogen in room air and transform it into nitric oxide, which has been shown to be effective in the treatment of chronic wounds.
Science on their side
Sounds easy enough, but the problem lies in finding an efficient way to do it. In the past century, two major breakthroughs helped put the science at the precipice. In the early 20th century, two German chemists, Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch, proved it was possible to produce ammonia on an industrial scale by combining atmospheric nitrogen and hydrogen. Both scientists won Nobel Prizes for their work, and showed that similar processes that rely on sourcing the gases naturally present in the atmosphere are possible. Then, in 1998, three researchers, Robert Furchgott, Louis J. Ignarro, and Ferid Murad, won Nobel Prizes for discovering that nitric oxide is an important signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system.