Vascular Therapeutics Inc., a recently formed company developingproducts to prevent and treat blood vessel diseases, raised $4 million inits first round of venture capital financing.The company, based in Mountain View, Calif., resulted from acollaboration between Tempus Medical Inc., a Mountain View"incubator" company, and Hamilton Civic Hospitals Research Centre(HCHRC), a research organization focused exclusively oncardiovascular disease, in Hamilton, Ontario. Vascular Therapeutics'development program is based on work done at the HCHRC under thedirection of Jack Hirsh, who has written more than 400 papers in thefield of thrombosis and atherosclerosis.Investors in the company include Domain Associates, Medicus VenturePartners and Biotechnology Investments Ltd. Allen, co-founder,president and CEO of Tempus Medical, is president and CEO ofVascular Therapeutics. And Allen is president and CEO of FirstMedical Inc., a start-up company developing diagnostic blood testingsystems, which also was backed by Tempus Medical.Allen told BioWorld that Vascular Therapeutics is funding specificprojects at the HCHRC and has worldwide rights to any therapeuticproducts coming out of the institute. He said the company was foundedon "two key discoveries" made at the HCHRC.One finding revealed why current drugs, and those under development,do not effectively control the formation of undesirable clots. Thesecond provided an understanding, at the molecular level, of why thebody's own clot-dissolving mechanism fails to remove undesirableclots."Our first product is designed to inhibit the formation and propagationof potentially fatal blood clots," Allen said. "What we've discovered isa completely new mechanism. This therapeutic agent has uniqueproperties that differ conceptually from the thrombin inhibitorscurrently under development by other biotechnology companies."Our second product candidate is designed to accelerate the naturallysis of fibrin, a major component of blood clots, which is a keystimulus to the unwanted vessel wall thickening that follows asubstantial percentage of angioplasties and contributes to the continuedgrowth of atherosclerostic plaques," Allen said. "Our therapeutic agentoffers the potential to slow arterial narrowing caused byatherosclerosis."The company has not identified lead candidates but has a number ofpotential leads, Allen said"We have a group of candidates we're working with in both areas,"Allen said. `What we would hope to do with this first financing is tocome up with lead compounds for both these areas" within 18 months,which is how long the money is expected to last.Two patent applications related to the technology have been filed andmore will be filed by the end of the year, the company said. n

-- Jim Shrine

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