Atherosclerosis typically leads to a narrowing of arteries and veins. This problem can occur in the proximity to the heart or in the outer limbs, which is called peripheral arterial disease (PAD). If untreated, PAD can progress to chronic limb ischemia (CLI). CLI symptoms include rest pain, gangrene (dying tissue), and ulcers, which require treatments that are geared towards improving local area blood flow. Atherosclerosis is estimated to affect 1bn people, 260m patients are suffering from PAD.
Current treatments: angioplasty stenting or open surgery implanting a bypass work not very well in the area below the knee and cause short-term peri-operative, and long-term post-operative problems. Provasctec aims to change the treatment approach from mechanical removal of the occlusion by triggering vascular tissue growth through mesenchymal stem cells, which are placed in close proximity of the occlusion with a mechanical delivery device.
ProVascTec will reduce the problems associated with using mechanical stents (mainly peri-operative complications and restenosis) and improve clinical effectiveness by not only improving arterial blood flow but also perfusion of the surrounding tissue. In less severe patients, patients will experience an improvement in their medical symptoms.
The project is in a preclinical stage. The key parameters of the device have been determined, the role of the cells in the neovascularization is well established. The key step is now to develop the device, specify the type of cells and combine the two workstreams. The key (short-term) partnership that needs to be formed is the identification of a suitable electrospinning contract developer to advance the prototype device on a technology platform that is suitable mass production. Patents have been filed in 2018 and patent discussions are ongoing.
Meet the team
Taco van der Feltz
NLC Venture Partner
Taco joined NLC in 2015 and is a highly international and networked entrepreneur trained as Medical Doctor and Medical Biologist. He is a visionary strategist conversant within and across disciplines. As Venture Partner, Taco focuses on building innovative companies and strengthening NLC’s abilities to bring innovations to healthcare.
NLC Venture Developer
Gina joined NLC in February 2020. As a Venture Partner, she works with a portfolio of Biotech and Medtech ventures. Gina also leads NLC’s Medtech Domain, ensuring we build impactful new Medtech ventures year after year. Gina holds a master’s in biotechnology from ETH Zurich and worked in management consulting as well as venture capital before joining NLC.