Vascular diseases afflict hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Many patients do not respond to standard treatments. We are developing regenerative medicines to address these unmet needs.
Regenerative medicine may offer a new opportunity for patients with untreatable degenerative conditions. Vascugen is focused on advancing cell therapies intended to restore function in tissues where there is a loss of blood flow (‘ischemia’).
Induced pluripotent stem cell (‘iPSC’) technology offers an ideal starting point for consistent and scalable manufacture of regenerative medicine products. Our proprietary cell differentiation technology enables us to derive our unique products using this technology.
Most new treatments developed to address ischemia aim to stimulate the patient’s blood vessels to sprout (‘angiogenesis’). Examples include growth factors and mesenchymal cells. These act by indirect mechanisms and unfortunately have led to failed trials.
Vascugen’s approach is different. In animal models of ischemic injury, our product directly restores blood flow by forming new blood vessels (‘vasculogenesis’). Our mission is to translate this discovery into a potent treatment for ischemic conditions.
Severe forms of vascular disease lead to devastating loss of function and life. Patients have few or no treatment options. Our regenerative medicine approach targets these refractory conditions.
CRITICAL LIMB ISCHEMIA
“Over 500,000 patients each year are diagnosed with critical limb ischemia (CLI), the most severe form of peripheral artery disease. CLI portends a grim prognosis; half the patients die from a cardiovascular cause within 5 years, a rate that is 5 times higher than a matched population without CLI. In 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services paid approximately $3.6 billion for claims submitted by hospitals for inpatient and outpatient care delivered to patients with CLI.”
PROLIFERATIVE DIABETIC RETINOPATHY
“Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a common microvascular complication of diabetes. With increasing global prevalence of diabetes, DR is a major cause of vision impairment affecting approximately 4.2 million people worldwide. The number of Americans 40 years or older with DR is estimated to reach 16.0 million by 2050, with vision threatening diabetic retinopathy affecting an estimated 3.4 million of them. DR is a major public health burden with direct medical costs accounting for $492 million, in addition to lost time and wages associated with receiving care.”
New industries are emerging to fabricate tissues and whole-organs. Above a certain thickness it becomes necessary to incorporate vascular cells. Our technology is well suited for these applications.
Mixtures of stem cells are known to self assemble into complex structures resembling miniaturized organs (‘organoid’) that recapitulate biology and function of the tissue. Our vasculogenic cells form micro vessels within the structures to ensure perfusion.
Advances in additive manufacturing and biomaterials are driving the development of cell-containing inks (‘bio-ink’) that can be printed into larger structures. Vascugen is establishing partnerships to leverage our technology in this exciting new field.