Cardiovascular disease is a general term used to describe diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, with statistics from 2019 stating that around 17.9 million people died from some type of cardiovascular disease, which was 32% of all global deaths that year.
Additionally, a report from the American Heart Association found that the total projected system-wide cost of managing cardiovascular disease in the US is expected to reach $1.1 trillion annually by 2035, signaling the need for not only cures, but also more effectiveness. general treatment options.
Fortunately, there are several companies currently working on a wide variety of treatments in the cardiovascular space, and a cure for cardiovascular disease may even be on the horizon after Moderna recently stated that a vaccine for this group of diseases could be ready by the end of the decade. .
Here, in alphabetical order, we have listed the top six well-known cardiovascular companies.
Danish cardiovascular company Acesion Pharma is focused on developing first-class new therapies for atrial fibrillation (AF). AF is the most common type of heart arrhythmia, and it occurs due to the firing of abnormal electrical impulses, which cause the atria — the upper chambers of the heart — to vibrate.
The company aims to treat AF through inhibition of SK channels, which are ion channels present in the heart that help regulate heart rhythm. With several studies having provided strong genetic validation of SK channel targets by demonstrating strong associations between genes encoding different subtypes of the channel and AF in humans, recent phase 2 results for Acesion’s lead candidate, AP30663, have provided evidence – concept for a general mechanism of SK inhibition for treating AF.
AP30663 is a class one SK ion channel blocker for conversion of AF to normal sinus rhythm, administered by intravenous infusion.
Acesion is also advancing an oral SK channel blocker program for maintenance of sinus rhythm in patients with AF, using second-generation molecules with higher specificity that avoid ventricular effects while maintaining efficacy in preclinical models.
Actor Biotech is a spin-off of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), and is developing a treatment for cardiovascular emergencies. The main focus is on acute ischemic stroke (AIS), which is characterized by a sudden loss of blood flow to the brain.
The company’s drug candidate, glenzocimab, is a humanized monoclonal antibody fragment. It is directed against human platelet glycoprotein GPVI, as GPVI blockade has been shown to exhibit effective antithrombotic potential in experimental models of thrombosis without increasing pathological bleeding, which is a common safety risk when developing platelet-targeted treatments.
Glenzocimab is being evaluated for use in the acute phase of ischemic stroke as an add-on therapy to thrombolysis – a treatment to dissolve dangerous clots in blood vessels – with or without mechanical thrombectomy.
It was also announced last year that, following the signing of a partnership between Actor Biotech and the University of Birmingham, a new phase 2b clinical trial called LIBERATE will take place in two acute care hospitals in the UK which will cover over 200 patients in the acute phase of myocardial infarction, to test safety and efficacy of glenzocimab 1000 mg versus placebo in reducing cardiac damage from infarction.
Cardiovascular company Cardurion Pharmaceuticals is focused on developing novel, next-generation therapies for the treatment of heart failure, as well as other cardiovascular diseases, through the science of cardiac myocyte signaling pathways.
The company’s lead candidate is called CRD-740, for the treatment of heart failure, and is a phosphodiesterase-9 (PDE9) inhibitor. It targets the enzyme PDE9, which metabolizes cardiac cGMP produced by the natriuretic peptide receptor (NPR) pathway. Activation of this pathway has proven clinical benefit in reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) and preserved (HFpEF) heart failure. CRD-740 is expected to provide benefits, both on its own and when used in combination with standard care of heart failure care.
The company announced the patient dose in its phase 2 clinical trial of CRD-740, called CARDINAL-HF, in July last year. CARDINAL-HF is a randomized placebo-controlled trial enrolling more than 650 patients, and will include both chronic and stable patients with HFrEF and HFpEF.
In addition, the company has also started phase 1 trials of its new CaMKII inhibitor for catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) – a rare congenital heart rhythm disorder.
Tokyo-based cardiovascular company Heartseed aims to treat cardiovascular disease using regenerative medicine, with its lead candidate, HS-001, focusing on heart failure. HS-001 is an investigative cell therapy consisting of spheroid cardiomyocytes – purified cardiac muscle cells – derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). It is designed to restore muscle and heart function.
Several preclinical studies have been conducted in which iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes have been shown to improve cardiac function, and earlier this year, Heartseed and Novo Nordisk – who have been partnering since 2021 – announced the first patient dosing in phase 1/2 of the HS-001 clinical study, in which HS-001 will be transplanted into diseased heart tissue during open heart surgery concurrent with the planned coronary artery bypass graft procedure.
Last month, Heartseed also raised $14 million in series D funding, in one of the largest private biotechnology investments in May in the Asia-Pacific region, bringing its total financial backing to approximately $74 million since its inception in 2015. The funding will recently be used for completion of the HS-001 phase 1/2 trial, and the company will also be looking at less invasive methods of administration, such as transendocardial injection.
Cardiovascular company Serca Pharmaceuticals is currently developing 13-M – its prime candidate – which is a small molecule used to minimize tissue damage that occurs with blood reperfusion after myocardial infarction and stenting.
Myocardial infarction – otherwise known as a heart attack – is one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide, and without treatment, an estimated 30% of patients will develop heart failure.
13-M has been shown to possess important protein-to-protein interaction characteristics with the capacity to modulate the SERCA2 Ca2+ pump. By targeting the AKAP18d-PLB protein to protein interactions specifically found in cardiac tissue in this way, it prevents SERCA2 activation and calcium (Ca) transport out of the cytosol, and contractile strength and energy consumption under adrenergic stress are reduced. without effect on the patient’s heart rate.
Currently in preclinical development, 13-M has been evaluated in a mouse model and shown to reduce myocardial infarction size, as assessed by the troponin biomarker of infarction and infarct size.
The PCSK9 gene is known to inhibit the removal of cholesterol from the blood, which increases the risk factor for developing cardiovascular problems, and individuals with mutations that interfere with that gene were found to have lower cholesterol levels. Therefore, finding a treatment that will interfere with this gene is a promising method for preventing cardiovascular problems.
Verve Therapeutics is focused on doing just that, with a one-shot gene therapy that will disrupt the PCSK9 gene. Its lead candidate, VERVE-101, is designed to be a single treatment that permanently switches off the PCSK9 gene in the liver to reduce disease-causing LDL-C – otherwise known as ‘bad’ cholesterol.
The therapy is currently being tested in a phase 1b trial in patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH), which is an inherited genetic disorder that causes dangerously high cholesterol levels, potentially leading to heart attack, heart disease, or stroke if left untreated.
The cardiovascular company is also working on a single gene therapy that targets the ANGPTL3 gene, which is the main regulator of cholesterol and triglycerides in the liver. Interfering with the ANGPTL3 protein can also lead to a decrease in LDL-C and triglycerides.