C. Vivek Lal, M.D., FAAP, knows the challenge of launching a successful start-up.

Less than two years ago, Lal founded ResBiotic, a UAB start-up company that creates science-backed, clinically tested over-the-counter probiotics to support gut, lung and immune health by targeting the gut microbiome.

That company’s success – including the honor of having a product named “Most Innovative Probiotic” by Global Health and Pharma Magazine – has provided a foundation for the team’s latest endeavor, Alveolus Bio.

Headquartered at Birmingham’s Innovation Depot, Alveolus Bio is a drug development company that seeks to create FDA-approved inhaled therapeutics for chronic lung diseases.

Alveolus staff at the Innovation DepotAlveolus is located in Birmingham's Innovation Depot.

While Alveolus is a spin-off of ResBiotic, which is itself a spin-off of technology licensed through the UAB Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Lal said the two companies are distinct.

Lal said there is a place for both companies in today’s rapidly changing healthcare landscape.

“Microbiome-based therapies are here to stay and may represent the future of healthcare,” he said. “With Alveolus, we wanted to develop the first inhaled live biotherapeutics products for specific chronic lung disease conditions.”

Alveolus researchers are currently working on a therapeutic named AB1000, which is intended to help those who suffer from advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Phase 1b clinical trials are expected to begin in 2023, and the company is currently raising money to fund the clinical trial.

Lal said Alveolus currently has five drug development programs at various stages. Those programs are developing inhaled therapies for COPD, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, pulmonary hypertension, viral illnesses and neutrophilic asthma.

Alveolus will open an office in Boston on Oct. 1, 2022.

ResBiotic and Alveolus were founded based on a decade’s worth of research in Lal’s Pulmonary Microbiome Lab and the Lung Protease and Matrix Biology Lab of Amit Gaggar, M.D., Ph.D. Both labs are at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Lal is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics, while Gaggar is a professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine.