PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Vascular Magnetics, Inc. announced today that it has raised $7 million in a Series A financing to advance the development of its proprietary, magnetically targeted drug delivery system for the treatment of peripheral artery disease (PAD). Devon Park Bioventures was the sole investor in the financing.
“This financing is an important endorsement of our highly innovative approach to treating peripheral artery disease, a major, growing clinical challenge that affects about 30 million in Europe and North America. At least ten million patients live in the US,” said Vascular Magnetics Chairman Georges Gemayel, PhD. “Current treatments for PAD such as angioplasty, grafts and stents, including drug eluting stents, are not durable, with arterial re-obstruction (restenosis) occurring frequently. Vascular Magnetics’ innovative approach to enhance local drug delivery has great potential to transform PAD treatment by delivering anti-restenotic drugs specifically to diseased artery sites at higher concentrations than are possible with drug eluting stents.”
The company’s system, called Vascular Magnetic Intervention (VMI), combines biodegradable, magnetic drug-loaded particles, a magnetic targeting catheter, and an external device for creating a uniform magnetic field. The field generates high force magnetic gradients in the catheter, so that when the drug-loaded particles are administered, the gradients direct them to the arterial wall. The particles remain in the arterial wall after the catheter is removed and release the drug over a sustained period.
The initial product Vascular Magnetics is developing employs paclitaxel, an established anti-restenosis drug that is a component of drug eluting stents used primarily to treat coronary artery disease. The underlying technology has longer term potential for the targeted delivery of therapeutics to other areas of the body.
“The funds will allow us to complete the preclinical development of the system and conduct an initial clinical trial,” said Richard S. Woodward, PhD, Vascular Magnetics co-founder and Chief Operating Officer. “We expect to begin the clinical trial in 2014.”
The system is based on research by Vascular Magnetics’ co-founder and founding scientist, Robert J. Levy, MD, who holds the William J. Rashkind Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cardiology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia® and is Director of the hospital’s Cardiology Research Laboratory. Dr. Levy and colleagues demonstrated the feasibility of the VMI approach in studies published in 2010 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “VMI shows great promise for improving outcomes for PAD and I am delighted that with Devon Park Bioventures’ support this concept is moving forward,” said Dr. Levy.
Vascular Magnetics was established in 2010 and has licensed its technology from Children’s Hospital. It is the first company to spin out of that institution. The company was seeded by the QED Proof of Concept Program at the University City Science Center in Philadelphia.
In connection with the financing, Christopher Moller, PhD, and Marc Ostro, PhD, General Partners at Devon Park Bioventures, will join the Vascular Magnetics Board. They join a board that includes Dr. Gemayel, Dr. Woodward, and Abba Krieger, PhD, Robert Steinberg Professor of Statistics and Operations Research at the Wharton School of Business.
About Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease is a growing chronic condition characterized by obstruction of the arteries in the legs. Intermittent claudication (crippling leg pain) is the most common and debilitating symptom of PAD. PAD can progress to compromise the blood supply to the affected leg, resulting in diminished function and quality of life, gangrene and subsequent amputation. All PAD patients have a higher risk of strokes and heart attacks. Risk factors for the condition include diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and hypertension. Current treatments, including angioplasty, grafts, stents and drug eluting stents are not particularly effective, with restenosis occurring at an annual rate of 20-40 percent. PAD-related costs, including amputation and amputation-related deaths, are estimated at up to $290 billion per year in the US alone.
About Vascular Magnetics
Vascular Magnetics is developing novel therapeutic products based on the magnetic targeting of drug-loaded biodegradable particles. The company’s first product in development is a treatment for peripheral artery disease that is designed to target anti-restenotic drugs specifically to diseased arterial sites and deliver doses not achievable with a drug eluting stent. The company’s approach, called Vascular Magnetic Intervention (VMI), combines a magnetic targeting catheter, and external magnetic device, along with drug-loaded biodegradable particles. Learn more at www.vascularmagnetics.com.