Columbia-based TEDCO announced a recent $500,000 State Small Business Credit Initiative investment into KaloCyte. The Baltimore-based biotechnology company is developing an artificial red blood cell called ErythroMer.

ErythroMer is a dried, bio-inspired artificial RBC that mimics the complex physiology of natural RBCs. Dried for long-term storage without refrigeration, the product can be carried on ambulances, in medic backpacks and stockpiled for mass casualties; the addition of sterile water will hopefully be used to transform current treatment practices for patients needing emergency transfusions.

Through this innovation, the company hopes to reduce the leading cause of preventable death after trauma — blood loss, with the hope that the RBC substitute, ErythroMer, will allow patients to get life-saving transfusions when donor blood is not available.

TEDCO’s investment was matched by Vitalant, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit blood and biotherapies health care organizations.

“Blood is highly perishable, type-specific and blood shortages are common, so most emergency responders do not carry blood, delaying trauma patients access to this life-saving therapy,” said Elaine Haynes, president and CEO of KaloCyte. “Thanks to the latest investment from TEDCO, KaloCyte can continue to research, develop and advance ErythroMer towards clinical trials. With this innovative artificial red blood cell, we hope to save lives both on and off the battlefield.”