Oriel Therapeutics, an emerging inhaled drug delivery company, has formed a Scientific Advisory Board to provide independent scientific and medical perspectives.

The board also will offer advice to Oriel management as the RTP-based company launches partnerships with pharmaceutical manufacturers to develop its technology.

The Scientific Advisory Board, which plans to meet twice a year, will be chaired by Anthony J. Hickey, Oriel’s chief scientific officer and developer of its technology. He is currently professor of Drug Delivery and Disposition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH).

Joining Hickey on the board is Richard Ahrens, a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Iowa College of Medicine and an attending physician in the Pediatric Allergy and Pulmonary Division at the Children’s Hospital of Iowa.

Robert Behringer also joins the board. He is a professor of Physics, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science at Duke University, where he served as the past chair of the Department of Physics and the James B. Duke Professor of Physics.

Another board member is James Crapo, chairman of the Department of Medicine at the National Jewish Center and professor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Crapo also was co-founder and director of research at Aeolus Pharmaceuticals.

Joining the board at its first meeting was Richard Fuller, director of science funding for the Wellcome Trust. Fuller’s previous appointment was with GlaxoSmithKline, working in the directorate of new product development as vice president for respiratory and inflammation clinical development and product strategy.

“We chose the members because of their expertise and independence in the pharmaceutical and medical fields,” said Hickey. “We have known these gentlemen professionally for a number of years and our management team values their input. We’re already implementing their ideas and advice in shaping the direction of the company.”

Oriel says the formation of the Scientific Advisory Board coincides with its first drug deposition study using its technology, being conducted at UNC-CHl. The study employs radionuclide imaging, which is used to assess many new aerosol delivery devices. The method consists of labeling drug with a radionuclide substance, which can be traced by a gamma camera. Healthy volunteers inhale the drug using the Oriel-designed inhaler and the gamma camera determines the percentage of the drug that is deposited in the lungs.

Oriel Therapeutics: www.orieltherapeutics.com