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Vascugen licenses stem cell tech for blood vessel regeneration developed at IU School of Medicine

The company is developing adult stem cell-based therapies for patients with incurable vascular conditions

For Immediate Release May 1, 2018
Night shot of the Ruth Lily Medical Library at the IU Medical School in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS – Vascugen Inc. today announced that it has licensed a suite of intellectual property developed at the Indiana University School of Medicine related to blood vessel formation from adult stem cells. The regenerative medicine company is focused on finding therapies to repair tissues damaged by reduced blood flow due to disease or injury.

The worldwide, exclusive licenses include patent rights to core intellectual property developed by Dr. Mervin C. Yoder, a Vascugen founder and IU Distinguished Professor Emeritus. They broadly cover related products and services for research, diagnostics, therapeutics, tissue engineering and 3D printing applications arising from the technology. The Yoder lab was the first to discover rare cells that are responsible for the formation of new blood vessels in the body and to then develop methods for manufacturing those cells.

“Injuries or degenerative diseases of the vasculature affect hundreds of millions of patients worldwide,” said Yoder, chief scientific officer of Vascugen. “Our research seeks to understand how a healthy vasculature is maintained and propagated. I am thrilled to now advance these discoveries into clinical applications with the potential to benefit patients.”

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, one in 20 Americans older than age 50 has peripheral artery disease, or PAD. Often called “hardening of the arteries,” the chronic condition develops when extra cholesterol in the bloodstream collects along the walls of arteries. This buildup, or plaque, reduces or blocks blood flow and is the leading cause of limb amputations. More than half of patients who receive an amputation die within five years, a figure that is higher than the mortality rates for breast, colon and prostate cancers.

“Some patients with severe forms of PAD are left with no treatment options,” said Carter Cliff, CEO of Vascugen. “We are taking a new approach to addressing this unmet need. In preclinical studies, our product has been shown capable of restoring blood flow to oxygen-starved tissues. Vascugen is advancing the translation of this discovery into a safe and effective therapy.”

Vascugen licensed the blood vessel formation technologies from the IU Innovation and Commercialization Office.

About the Indiana University Innovation and Commercialization Office

Indiana University ICO is tasked with the protection and commercialization of technology emanating from innovations by IU researchers. Since 1997, IU research has generated almost 3,000 inventions resulting in more than 4,500 global patent applications. These discoveries have generated more than $142 million in licensing and royalty income, including more than $115 million in funding for IU departments, labs and inventors.

About Vascugen Inc.

Vascugen is a regenerative medicine company engaged in the development of advanced medicines and transformative therapies to treat incurable vascular degenerative conditions and injuries. The company holds the rights to an exclusive, worldwide license to a broad patent portfolio encompassing the repair, regeneration and functional restoration of blood vessels from adult stem cells. Driven by innovation and a team of scientific and clinical thought leaders, Vascugen was founded by Dr. Mervin C. Yoder, a pioneer and noted expert in the field of endothelial stem cell technology. Vascugen’s first therapeutic candidate targets peripheral artery disease, which often results in amputations, reduced quality of life and increased mortality from cardiovascular complications.

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