WARRINGTON, Pa., Jan. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Discovery Laboratories, Inc. (NASDAQ: DSCO), a specialty biotechnology company dedicated to advancing a new standard in respiratory critical care, today announced it has initiated the launch of its AFECTAIR ® airway connector for infants receiving aerosolized medication in neonatal or pediatric intensive care units (NICU and PICU, respectively). The AFECTAIR device simplifies the delivery of aerosolized medication to critical care patients who require ventilatory support by introducing the medication directly at the patient interface. The launch begins with an AFECTAIR user experience program in leading U.S. critical care centers that represent approximately ten percent of the Company's targeted institutions. The selected institutions are considered to be centers of influence within the neonatal and pediatric critical care community. The initial phase of this launch is intended to facilitate peer-to-peer exchange that will allow physicians and respiratory therapists to discuss the advantages and proper utilization of this novel device. This phase of the launch is anticipated to run through the first quarter of 2013 at which time Discovery Labs will initiate a broader introduction of AFECTAIR. "We are very excited to formally introduce AFECTAIR to the neonatal and pediatric critical care community," said Thomas F. Miller, Chief Operating Officer at Discovery Labs. "The AFECTAIR technology exemplifies Discovery Labs' innovative spirit and progress toward advancing new standards in respiratory critical care." The AFECTAIR technology was developed as a component of the AEROSURF ® development program and is a proprietary, disposable device that simplifies the delivery of aerosolized medications to critical-care patients requiring ventilatory support such as intermittent mechanical ventilation or continuous positive airway pressure. To date, in vitro studies suggest that the AFECTAIR technology may be an effective new solution for delivering aerosolized medications to infants receiving ventilatory support while providing healthcare professionals with a simplified alternative to current practices. According to national health statistics and internal market assessment data, it is estimated that each year approximately 355,000 pediatric patients in the United States are eligible to receive aerosolized medications while requiring ventilator support. Discovery Labs is also pursuing European Conformity (CE) marking for potential commercialization of AFECTAIR for infants in the European Union (EU) in 2013.