Skip to Content


Treatment for Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Update: Surfaxin (lucinactant) Now FDA Approved - March 6, 2012

Discovery Labs Receives Approvable Letter from FDA for Surfaxin for Respiratory Distress Syndrome in Premature Infants

WARRINGTON, Pa., February 14, 2005 — Discovery Laboratories, Inc. (Nasdaq: DSCO) announces receipt of an Approvable Letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Surfaxin for the prevention of Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS) in premature infants.

The Approvable Letter is an official notification that the FDA is prepared to approve the Surfaxin New Drug Application and contains conditions that the applicant must meet prior to obtaining final U.S. marketing approval. The conditions that Discovery must meet primarily involve finalizing labeling and correcting previously reported manufacturing issues. Most notably, the FDA is not requiring additional preclinical or clinical trials for final approval. The Company anticipates potential approval and commercial launch of Surfaxin to occur in the fourth quarter of 2005 or first quarter of 2006.

Surfaxin is the first precision-engineered lung Surfactant Replacement Therapy (SRT). Surfaxin contains a peptide, sinapultide, which is designed to closely mimic the essential properties of human lung surfactant protein B (SP-B). Surfactants are substances that are produced naturally in the lungs and are essential to the lungs' ability to absorb oxygen and to maintain proper airflow through the respiratory system. Premature babies are born with a lack of natural surfactant in their lungs. Without surfactant, the air sacs in the lungs collapse and are unable to absorb sufficient oxygen resulting in RDS.

Robert J. Capetola, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Discovery, commented, "This is a momentous occasion for Discovery Labs and its prospective patients. We are extremely pleased with the approvable designation, which reflects positively on the results achieved in our Phase 3 clinical program. We are indebted to Charlie Cochrane, M.D., Professor and Co-Founder of The Scripps Research Institute, who is the inventor of the Surfaxin technology and continues to be our most influential scientific advisor.

"Surfaxin is the cornerstone of our Surfactant Replacement Therapy pipeline and potentially sets a new standard for the prevention of RDS. Our mission is to advance to market precision-engineered Surfactant Replacement Therapies with the promise to revolutionize the treatment of respiratory diseases prevalent in the neonatal intensive care unit, critical care, and hospital settings."

RDS is a life-threatening and costly breathing disorder that strikes tens of thousands of premature infants in the United States each year, with a global at risk population in excess of 500,000 infants. Approximately 75,000 infants are treated with surfactants in the United States annually. Current surfactant treatment options are limited to animal-derived surfactants harvested from bovine (cow) and porcine (pig) sources.

Data from Discovery's pivotal, multinational SELECT study demonstrates that Surfaxin was significantly more effective in the prevention of RDS and improved survival and other outcomes versus comparator surfactants. The SELECT and STAR (a supportive Phase 3 study) trials, as well as a pooled Phase 3 analysis, have been presented at several international medical meetings and will be published in a leading medical journal in the second quarter of 2005.

Discovery will hold a conference call today at 10:00 AM EST. The call in number is 800-665-0669. The international call in number is 706-643-0254. This audio webcast will be available to shareholders and interested parties through a live broadcast on the Internet at or It is recommended that participants log onto one of these sites at least 15 minutes prior to the call. The Internet broadcast will be available for up to 30 days after the call at both website addresses.

About Discovery Labs
Discovery Laboratories, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company developing its proprietary surfactant technology as Surfactant Replacement Therapies (SRT) for respiratory diseases. Surfactants are produced naturally in the lungs and are essential for breathing. Discovery's technology produces a precisely engineered surfactant that is designed to closely mimic the essential properties of natural human lung surfactant. Discovery believes that through its technology, pulmonary surfactants have the potential, for the first time, to be developed into a series of respiratory therapies for patients in the neonatal intensive care unit, critical care unit and other hospital settings, where there are few or no approved therapies available.

Discovery has received an Approvable Letter from the FDA for Surfaxin, the Company's lead product, for the prevention of Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS) in premature infants, and has filed a Marketing Authorization Application with the EMEA for clearance to market Surfaxin in Europe. Discovery is also conducting various clinical programs to address Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) in adults, Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) in premature infants, Neonatal Respiratory Disorders in premature infants, severe asthma in adults, and Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS) in full-term infants.

More information about Discovery is available on the Company's Web site at

Posted: February 2005

Related Articles

Surfaxin (lucinactant) FDA Approval History