Vascular BioSciences Receives $2.7M STTR Fast-Track Grant for CAR Liposomes with VA Hospital of Northern California
Vascular BioSciences will be collaborating with the VA Hospital of Northern California on the development of CAR liposomes for pulmonary arterial hypertension treatment
GOLETA, CA — Vascular BioSciences (VBS) is excited to announce its awarding of a $2.7M STTR Fast-Track Grant for the research and advancement of CARSKNKDC (CAR) liposomes. EBIRE, a non-profit research foundation that administers grants for the VA Hospital of Northern California, played a significant role in procuring the STTR grant for Vascular BioSciences. In collaboration with the VA Hospital of Northern California, VBS will be working to develop CAR-modified liposomes for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).
CAR peptide is a 9-amino-acid cyclic peptide that selectively targets and penetrates diseased tissues by binding to heparan sulfate moieties expressed by cells in injured tissues. CAR functions as a homing peptide to the damaged vascular wall of vessels in experimental PAH, but not systemic vessels nor pulmonary vessels of normal animals.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a disease characterized by elevated pressures and progressive obstruction of the pulmonary arteries, leading to abnormal blood flow and high pulmonary blood pressure; PAH has a high mortality rate due to right heart failure. PAH drugs such as Fasudil have shown to be effective in reducing mortality in preclinical PAH animal models, but are limited by nonspecific targeting.
VBS and the VA Hospital of Northern California will be developing a targetable and inhalable formulation of Fasudil. This therapy will encapsulate Fasudil in liposomes, tagged with CAR peptide, to accumulate preferentially in hypertensive pulmonary arteries.
In a series of preclinical studies, collaborators have demonstrated that CAR-modified liposomes containing Fasudil reduce the mean pulmonary arterial pressure (mPAP), which improves various features of pulmonary arterial remodeling. Additional studies will lay the foundation for an FDA IND application and clinical translation of this combination therapy. These studies will also establish CAR liposomes infused with Fasudil as a novel and inhalable therapeutic option for pulmonary hypertension patients. This combination will specifically target the hypertensive pulmonary vasculature and provide synergistic therapeutic benefits through the Rho A/Rho kinase pathway, without the additive adverse side effect of systemic vasodilation.
CEO of Vascular BioSciences, David Mann, commented, “We are delighted to be receiving an STTR grant to further the research of our CAR peptide. Vascular BioSciences is eagerly anticipating the progress we will make in developing CAR liposomes. Our second STTR Fast-Track grant is yet another milestone in our journey of bringing this exciting technology to PAH patients worldwide.”
Dr. Fakhrul Ahsan will be working with VBS to conduct the research funded by the STTR grant. Dr. Ahsan is a professor at the California Northstate University College of Pharmacy (CNUCOP) in the Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Ahsan studied pharmacology at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh, and earned a Ph.D in Pharmaceutics from the Complutense University of Madrid. Ahsan specializes in researching solutions for the pulmonary delivery of therapeutic agents to treat respiratory disorders such as pulmonary hypertension.
“I’m thrilled to work with Vascular BioSciences to further discover the life-saving capabilities that CAR liposomes have to offer,” said Ahsan. “Receiving this grant will only take us one step closer to implementing CAR in clinical settings and reducing the mortality of PAH patients globally.”
John C. Johnson, sub awardee, President and Executive Director of the East Bay Institute For Research & Education will be working alongside Vascular BioSciences in drug development. “I’m very excited to be working with Vascular BioSciences for our first ever drug development project” said Johnson, “CAR liposomes are an extremely promising area of research that we look forward to being a part of.”.
The new research funded by this STTR grant will pave the way for Vascular BioSciences to bring its CAR liposomes into the medical field. The advancement of CAR liposomes will improve the current standard of care for PAH patients and potentially result in a better prognosis for these patients.
More information about VBS is available at www.vascularbiosciences.com
About Vascular BioSciences
Vascular BioSciences is a biopharmaceutical and medical device company with operations in California and North Carolina, founded to develop targeted solutions for serious and difficult-to-treat cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases in order to enhance and prolong human life.
VBS Pharmaceuticals has developed CARSKNKDC (CAR) peptide for the targeting and penetration of diseased tissue, and the enhancement of co-administered PAH therapy efficacy.
The East Bay Institute for Research and Education is one of the many non-profit corporations established to conduct research for Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. EBIRE is organized as a 509(a)(1), and delivers its work through the Veteran’s Affairs Northern California Health Care System. EBIRE provides veterans with access to the most advanced medical care, promoting an intellectual and scientific driven environment.
Currently EBIRE is working on the Program In Rehabilitation Neuroscience (PRN) to assist Post-9/11 Veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain injuries. With the goal of allowing for more veterans to heal and return to society as independent individuals.
About VA Hospital of Northern California Health Care System (VANCHCS)
The VA Northern California Hospital is a health care system that offers physical, psychological, and rehabilitative care to Veterans across Northern California. The VANCHCS system has 12 sites located throughout Northern California, and has a total of 10 outpatient clinics.
VANCHS reaches 17 different counties, and serves around 175,000 veterans with its 30,000 square miles of facilities. VANCHS is conducting research in areas such as cancer, DNA repair, geriatrics, neuroscience, liver disease, and more.