SBIR Grant to Help Gateway Progress on Tinnitus Treatment

Thomas Brutnell, a skilled executive in the biotechnology sector, splits his time among a variety of endeavors. He is the founder of Viridis Genomics Consulting and serves as a visiting scientist for the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Beyond these roles, Thomas Brutnell is vice president of Gateway Biotechnology, a St. Louis-based drug-development business that recently secured over $2 million in federal funding.

The biotechnology startup received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant in July 2020. At $2.2 million, the grant was provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Gateway was founded in 2011 with the purpose of developing drugs that prevent and treat hearing disorders. Since its founding, it has received several Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) and SBIR grants from the NIH. It also is part of a $10 million contract from the United States Department of the Army to develop a treatment to prevent noise-induced hearing loss. The drug produced through this project is part of a clinical Phase II trial.

With the new SBIR grant, Gateway plans on supporting the advanced development of a tinnitus treatment. Tinnitus involves a ringing in the ear and is associated with hearing loss. While several companies seek drugs that prevent and treat this condition, there are currently no FDA-approved drugs for tinnitus on the market. The funding will help Gateway expand pilot studies of their lead candidate, a plant natural product, and move closer to clinical trials and FDA approval.