Building on its extensive laboratory research using magnetically guided nanoparticles to deliver drugs to diseased blood vessels, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has just spun off its first startup company, Vascular Magnetics, Inc. (VMI).
By licensing its technology to VMI, a new company formed to develop the lab findings into a commercially viable therapy, the Hospital aims to create a novel, greatly needed treatment for peripheral artery disease (PAD). Characterized by blocked arteries, primarily in the legs, PAD affects more than 27 million older adults in North America and Europe, with diabetes patients and smokers at particularly high risk. Current treatments for PAD, including drug-eluting stents, are ineffective, with re-blockage of the arteries occurring at a high rate.
In addition to being the Hospital's first startup company, the program targets patients outside the Hospital's usual pediatric age group. "While our first target group is adult patients, the technique represents a new platform technology, potentially adaptable to delivering a variety of therapies to children as well as adults," says the technology's inventor, Robert J. Levy, M.D., the William J. Rashkind Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cardiology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Levy co-founded VMI with Richard S. Woodward, Ph.D., the company's Chief Executive Officer. The two first joined forces through the QED Proof-of-Concept Program sponsored by the University City Science Center in West Philadelphia. The goal of the QED Program, the nation's first multi-institutional proof-of-concept program for life sciences technologies, is to accelerate research from academic laboratories into the marketplace. A unique feature of this program is that academic scientists such as Levy are partnered with experienced business advisors such as Woodward, who has a background that includes developing nanoparticles and polymeric coatings.
"The Science Cen
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Children's Hospital of Philadelphia