A small biotechnology company developing a synthetic blood for use when supplies are low or unavailable is moving to Baltimore from St. Louis and affiliating with the University of Maryland BioPark.

During a trauma, blood loss is the leading cause of preventable death, but bags of blood aren’t always available, such as on the battlefield or at a mass casualty scene. There is no real blood substitute, though some products are in the works.

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ErythroMer, the blood product created by the Missouri biotechnology firm KaloCyte, is in development and could be tested in humans in two to three years, the company reports. If proved safe and effective, it could become the only such blood substitute able to be freeze-dried for longer-term storage and transport.

That would make ErythroMer more useful in military or domestic trauma settings, as well as in developing countries, company officials said.

The company said it was moving to Baltimore to be closer to backers at the National Institutes of Health and Defense Department, as well as the Maryland campuses. It has raised $6 million for its research from grants and investors.

The company’s two co-founders also are establishing a lab at the University of Maryland to pursue related blood research and are filling academic positions at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Dr. Allan Doctor, KaloCyte’s chief science officer, will direct the new University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Blood Oxygen Transport & Hemostasis, or CBOTH.

Dipanjan Pan, KaloCyte’s chief technology officer and co-founder, also will become director of the nanofabrication core at CBOTH, a professor of radiology in the school of medicine, and professor of chemical and biochemical and environmental engineering at UMBC.

Besides Doctor and Pan, Dr. Philip C. Spinella helped develop ErythroMer at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

At the University of Maryland, CBOTH will support development of ErythroMer, which uses human blood elements and acts in the same manner as red blood cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to tissue.

KaloCyte will initially employ two people and expects to grow to five employees later this year.

"The company is another important healthcare startup joining the University of Maryland’s and Baltimore’s vibrant biotechnology community,” said James Hughes, the university’s chief economic development officer and vice president, in a statement.

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