VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on stem cell-based drug rescue and drug development, recently completed a $3.87 million financing (including cancellation of $1.0 million of debt) to accredited investors, including a $1.5 million investment by Platinum Long Term Growth Fund. The Company is focused on rescuing the investments made by pharmaceutical companies in promising drug candidates that have been “put on the shelf” due to heart toxicity concerns. By combining its stem cell technology platform, Human Clinical Trials in a Test Tube(TM), with modern medicinal chemistry and three-dimensional (3D) “micro-organ” culture systems, the Company plans to create new, safer, proprietary drug rescue variants of once promising original drug candidates.
VistaGen uses its human pluripotent stem cell technology to generate early indications, or predictions, of how humans will ultimately respond to new drug candidates long before they are ever tested in humans. The Company anticipates that CardioSafe 3D(TM), the first bioassay system derived from its Human Clinical Trials in a Test Tube(TM) platform, will allow it to assess the heart toxicity profile of new drug candidates with greater speed and precision than nonclinical in vitro techniques and other technologies currently used in the drug development process. VistaGen plans to expand its drug rescue capabilities by introducing its second bioassay system, LiverSafe 3D(TM), a human liver cell based toxicity and metabolism bioassay system, next year. The Company’s core goal is to develop a diverse pipeline of new small molecule drug candidates that will be as effective as the original drug candidates discontinued due to safety concerns but without the toxicity that caused them to be put on the shelf.
“Both in our labs in South San Francisco and through our collaboration with Dr. Gordon Keller in Toronto, we have assembled a dedicated and experienced team that is passionate about the transformative potential of our stem cell technology. Our goal is simple: use stem cell technology to make better medicine,” said Shawn K. Singh, Chief Executive Officer, VistaGen in a prior press release.
VistaGen’s technologies were developed over the last 20 years by a prominent Canadian scientist, Dr. Gordon Keller (recently named a “Top 25 Transformational Canadian” for his pioneering stem cell research), and by Dr. Ralph Snodgrass, VistaGen’s founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer. Using mature heart cells produced from pluripotent stem cells, the Company believes its CardioSafe 3D(TM) is capable of predicting the in vivo cardiac effects, both toxic and non-toxic, of small molecule drug candidates before they are tested in humans.
In parallel with its drug rescue activities, VistaGen also plans to advance numerous pilot preclinical cell therapy programs, including programs focused on autologous bone marrow transplantation, as well as heart, liver and cartilage repair. Each of the programs is based on the proprietary stem cell differentiation and human cell production capabilities of its Human Clinical Trials in a Test Tube(TM) platform.
Additional information about VistaGen can be found at www.vistagen.com
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