Vesta Therapeutics Awarded Research Grant

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Vesta Therapeutics, Inc., announced today the awarding of a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant from the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This grant will support exploring the use of adipose derived adult stem (ADAS) cells as a therapeutic modality in liver disease.

Liver failure secondary to hepatitis, hepatotoxin exposure, and cirrhosis threatens the lives of thousands in the United States alone. At this time, liver transplantation is the only therapeutic option available to patients other than palliative measures. Unfortunately, the number of patients waiting for a transplant outnumbers the available donor organs. Adult stem cell research presents a potential alternative therapeutic option. A number of studies have demonstrated that adult stem cells from multiple tissues can improve in vivo regeneration of damaged organs, including the liver.

The objective of this Phase I is to demonstrate the in vitro ability of human ADAS cells to express hepatocytes or hepatic biliary cell differentiation markers in conjunction with expression of cytokines associated with liver regeneration. The planned Phase II will be a preclinical study aimed at demonstrating ADAS cell ability to enhance hepatic regeneration and repair in vivo.

This grant is a collaboration between Vesta Therapeutics, Inc., and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. John W. Ludlow, Ph.D., Vesta's head of research and development, will be the Principal Investigator. Jeffry M. Gimble, M.D., Ph.D., Professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, will be the collaborator.

Vesta Therapeutics is a privately held company developing cell therapeutics for liver repair and regeneration. The Company's technology is centered on the isolation, expansion, and cryopreservation of liver cells obtained from organ donor livers that are not suitable for whole organ transplantation. The Food and Drug Administration has allowed the Company's Investigational New Drug (IND) application for a Phase I clinical trial of cryopreserved, allogeneic human liver cells for the treatment of patients with cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease.

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