In recent years, few medical epidemics have received as much worldwide media attention as the ongoing Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, which has led to more than 22,000 reported cases and claimed nearly 9,000 lives. This horrific disease historically has a documented fatality rate as high as 90 percent, and with no discernible treatment or vaccine currently available, prevention and containment have become the principal ways to address cases of Ebola.
To combat the virus, SPR Advanced Technologies Inc. – a startup company focusing on advanced materials for commercial and industrial applications – developed a state-of-the art spray-on barrier substance with the antimicrobial properties capable of killing viruses and bacteria. This innovation could then be used to prevent contamination on a number of different surface types, including personal protective equipment worn by those dealing directly with Ebola. However, when the time came to secure funds for testing its promising new technology, SPR knew it needed a strong advocate and turned to Holland & Knight.
The firm's Healthcare & Life Sciences and Venture Capital & Emerging Companies Teams assisted in developing the grant application as well as supported federal relations and the corporate formation process for SPR's pursuit and eventual win of a major grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). After a thorough selection process, recipients were chosen based on their prospective solutions for boosting the protection and comfort of healthcare workers in West Africa, all as part of USAID's "Fighting Ebola: a Grand Challenge for Development" initiative. SPR was one of only three first-round winners in the worldwide challenge, which was launched by USAID in conjunction with the White House Office of Science and Technology, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Defense.
Holland & Knight's diverse experience within the complex realms of healthcare, public policy and emerging companies enabled the firm to facilitate SPR's bid for federal funding, and it provides further proof that our team is more than equipped to tackle such complicated issues with both ease and effectiveness. As the fight against Ebola and other notable diseases rages on, clients can trust Holland & Knight to deliver the high-caliber counsel needed to handle this and other healthcare-related matters.
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