$3.7 million grant to fund research on novel drug targeting heart diseases
New Orleans, LA – The Exscien Corporation of Louisville, KY, in conjunction with LSU Health New Orleans Cardiovascular Center of Excellence, has been awarded an SBIR Fast-Track grant in the amount of $3.7 million over three years by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The funding will be used to study the company's first in a new class of drugs that repairs DNA damage to reduce cardiac tissue injury and improve outcomes in cardiovascular diseases.
The grant will directly fund $1,441,643 to LSU Health New Orleans to study the potential efficacy of Exscien1-III, a patented three-part fusion protein designed to harness the body's own mechanisms to control and repair disease pathways. The drug has demonstrated significant cardioprotective actions in rodent models of acute myocardial infarction, or heart attack, and the newly funded research will investigate its effectiveness in a model of heart failure. A goal of this research is to move this promising new drug toward human clinical trials.
Exscien CEO Dr. Ker Ferguson and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Glenn Wilson, and LSU Health New Orleans Cardiovascular Center of Excellence Director David J. Lefer, PhD, are the grant's principal investigators. They will work alongside LSU Health New Orleans Cardiovascular Center Translational Core Laboratory Director Traci Goodchild, PhD, to develop a pathway for Exscien1-III to restore fundamental cellular metabolic function and disrupt a root pathway for cardiac disease progression and heart failure.
While at an early stage of overall development, Exscien's proprietary protein leads the way to finding a means to mitigate and repair the underlying tissue damage suffered from these devastating diseases.
"Exscien is able to deliver microscopic repair enzymes directly to the root of the damage and thus goes beyond the current standard of care of simply treating downstream symptoms," says Dr. Ker Ferguson, Exscien CEO. "The therapy offers substantial commercial potential and has attracted large 'pharma' interest to date."
"This approach could potentially effect more than 20 million people worldwide with progressive heart failure," notes Dr. David Lefer, Professor of Pharmacology and Director of the Cardiovascular Center of Excellence at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine.
LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans educates Louisiana's health care professionals. The state's health sciences university leader, LSU Health New Orleans includes a School of Medicine, the state's only School of Dentistry, Louisiana's only public School of Public Health, and Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. LSUHSC faculty take care of patients in public and private hospitals and clinics throughout the region. In the vanguard of biosciences research in a number of areas in a worldwide arena, the LSUHSC research enterprise generates jobs and enormous economic impact. LSUHSC faculty have made lifesaving discoveries and continue to work to prevent, advance treatment, or cure disease. To learn more, visit http://www.lsuhsc.edu, http://www.twitter.com/LSUHealthNO or http://www.facebook.com/LSUHSC.
Exscien Corp is a biotechnology firm focused on providing therapeutics to repair oxidative damage to mitochondrial DNA to help restore normal cellular metabolism. Mitochondrial DNA damage is a root cause and forms the pathway for many debilitating conditions. The company is currently examining applications for the gastro-intestinal, neurological and cardiovascular systems. The pre-clinical testing and development of its proprietary protein will yield first-in-class class drugs to combat many widespread afflictions, ranging from insulin resistance to heart failure.