SeaStar Medical has hired Dr. Kevin Chung as chief medical officer of the medtech developer starting July 1.
Denver-based SeaStar is developing a platform therapy focused on hyperinflammation of vital organs. The company’s Selective Cytopheretic Device was designated as a breakthrough device by the FDA earlier this year.
SeaStar is set to go public in the third quarter of 2022 through a combination with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) LMF Acquisition Opportunities (Nasdaq: LMAO).
“Dr. Chung’s decades of practical experience with known applications of extracorporeal therapies and his service as a critical care intensivist make him uniquely positioned to lead SeaStar Medical’s clinical development programs,” SeaStar President and CEO Eric Schlorff said in a news release. “We are thrilled to have a critical care practitioner and world-class expert like Dr. Chung join our team to create a more effective, safer, and higher standards of care for critically ill patients.”
Chung was medical director of the Burn Intensive Care Unit at the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research — where he later served as director of research — and led the establishment of one of the first burn center-led continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) programs in the country to treat acute kidney injury. His clinical research on the impact of CRRT in burns led to international adoption of the therapy in this population, SeaStar said.
He also co-led the establishment of the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) program at Brooke Army Medical Center — where he served as chief of medicine — and was the Department of Defense subject matter expert for DARPA’s Dialysis-Like Therapeutics program, SeaStar said.
Chung most recently was chair of medicine at the Uniformed Services University, where he led the PURIFY program testing blood filters for COVID-19 patients.
Chung has treated thousands of patients, including hundreds of critically ill combat-wounded patients who suffered multiple organ failure, the company said. He has received the Defense Superior Service Medal, a Bronze Star, six Meritorious Service Medals and the Combat Action Badge.
“I am excited to join the innovative team at SeaStar Medical with its mission to save lives by treating and preventing organ failure,” Chung said in the news release. “Too many times, I have stood at the bedside of dying patients, most recently during the peak of COVID, realizing that standard of care was not enough. I know I am not alone. There is a clear demand in the field for therapeutics that target the dysregulated host response to any insult without shutting down the entire immune system. SCD represents a unique mechanistic approach that differentiates it from any other device or drug.”