TIAP FEATURES: Vasomune Therapeutics –
Tackling Vascular Dysfunction and Boosting Host Defenses
From viral and bacterial pneumonia and sepsis, to acute kidney injury, hemorrhagic shock, stroke, and complications associated with diabetes, vascular dysfunction is a foundational mechanism for an array of the most devastating and pervasive disease states affecting patients worldwide.
Recognizing the potential far-reaching impact and scale of opportunity thereby presented by vascular normalization strategies, TIAP and the Sunnybrook Research Institute of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre came together in 2014 and created Vasomune Therapeutics Inc.
Employing a novel therapeutic approach that harnesses the body’s ability to defend against illness rooted vascular endothelial dysfunction by modifying the cellular response to disease, the company was able to quickly show positive results across multiple indications.
Stemming from predecessor analogs originally invented in the laboratory of the late Dr. Daniel J. Dumont at Sunnybrook Research Institute, Vasomune’s novel lead therapeutic, AV-001 targets the Tie2 receptor, a transmembrane protein most highly expressed on the surface of endothelial cells in the vasculature. In response to injury or infection, the host vascular response can become unconstrained driving impairment of lung function, edema in critical organs, and fluid loss that leads to organ dysfunction and death. AV-001 activates the nonredundant Tie2-Angiopoietin signaling axis, and through stimulation of multiple downstream pathways, normalizes the vasculature by enhancing endothelial cell stability, restoring normal barrier defense, and blocking vascular leak.
Importantly, in multiple pre-clinical studies, AV-001 tightened endothelial cell-cell junctions and promoted endothelial cell survival, which reduced pulmonary edema and improved lung function compared to untreated controls, translating into significantly improved survival.
So when the global pandemic presented itself as an extremely challenging and pressing threat to national health security, Vasomune was called to focus its attention to the development of AV-001 as a treatment for patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).
With $13.5M of non-dilutive funding from the US Department of Defense, Genome Canada, and NRC IRAP behind them, and via the signing of an early global co-development partnership agreement with a Japan-based pharmaceutical company, AnGes, Inc. (Tokyo, TYO:4563), Vasomune was able to effectively accelerate the development of AV-001, successfully progressing from discovery and IND-enabling work to Phase 2a in an effort to determine if its therapeutic strategy of normalizing the vasculature could improve survival, reduce progression to mechanical ventilation, and shorten hospital stays for patients with ARDS.
This past November, Vasomune and AnGes announced they had received a positive recommendation from the Independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (IDSMB) for the continuation of the AV001-004 Phase 2a Study, which Dr. Brian E. Jahns, Vasomune President and Chief Operating Officer noted as “a hallmark of our focused and collaborative efforts with our investigators.” He further remarked, “We are tremendously pleased at the positive response from the clinical and scientific community for our novel therapeutic approach to treating vascular endothelial dysfunction – and tremendously grateful for all the support we’ve received in getting Vasomune to this important stage of development.”
With its made-in-Canada solution currently in the midst of the ongoing fight against infection-induced respiratory distress, and with a remarkable opportunity to subsequently expand its impact to additional areas of immense unmet global need, Vasomune Therapeutics is clearly an Ontario life sciences company to keep your eye on.
Follow Vasomune to stay apprised of the next big steps in this exciting story, and click here to learn more about the resources TIAP offers to help transform the work of our world-class research institutions into new commercial health innovations and new Ontario-based life sciences ventures.
TIAP would like to acknowledge the support of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) in enabling this success story.