EHang, Lung Biotechnology to enable drone delivery of manufactured organs for transplant

Aerial technology company EHang Holdings Limited has formed a collaboration with Lung Biotechnology PBC to develop and purchase up to 1,000 units of an evolved version of the 184, an autonomous drone for humans, to automate organ transplant delivery, the company said.

The two companies have agreed to work together over the course of the next 15 years to optimize the 184 for organ deliveries, a program which they are calling the Manufactured Organ Transport Helicopter (MOTH) system. The collaboration stands to revolutionize the way organs are transported in the US, with the potential to save tens of thousands of lives.

Lung Biotechnology specializes in manufacturing lungs and other organs for transplant using a variety of technologies, including pig-to-human xenotransplantation, as well as regenerating them from stem cells.

It plans to station the MOTH rotorcrafts outside of its organ manufacturing facilities, and use preprogrammed flight plans to hospitals and re-charging pads within the MOTH radius so that the manufactured organs can be delivered within their post-production window of viability. This huge shift in organ production and delivery has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives. Currently, organ transplants are limited by the number of brain-dead donors, which results in thousands of deaths on organ transplant waiting lists each year.

In the case of lung transplants, only about 2,000 lung procedures are performed annually, whereas over 200,000 people in the US die of end-stage lung disease each year. The prospect of manufactured lungs could eliminate this numerical limit, and delivering them autonomously via the all-electric MOTH technology will save the healthcare system many millions of dollars with a dramatically reduced carbon footprint.

MOTH purchases by Lung Biotechnology will be contingent upon successful development and US Federal Aviation Administration approval of the MOTH rotorcraft, as well as approval by the US Food and Drug Administration of Lung Biotechnology´s xenotransplantation organ products.

The 184, which is an autonomous drone capable of carrying a passenger more than 10 miles through the air at speeds up to 65 miles per hour simply by entering a destination into its accompanying smartphone app, is perfected suited for a variety of medical emergency transport.

Lung Biotechnology is a public benefit corporation focused on the development and commercialization of innovative products to enhance organ transplantation. The company is advancing regenerative medicine, xenogenetic and 3D printing technologies for organ manufacturing, as well as operating the first center in the United States for enabling unusable human donor lungs to be rendered transplantable. Lung Biotechnology generates USD700 million a year from the sales of pharmaceuticals for pulmonary arterial hypertension, a frequent cause of lung transplantation.

EHang is a global leading aerial technology company with headquarter in Guangzhou, branch offices in California, Duesseldorf, Beijing and Shanghai.