VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company applying stem cell technology for drug rescue and cell therapy, has signed a strategic drug rescue agreement with Cato BioVentures and Cato Research.
The companies will join forces to identify, evaluate, rescue and develop once-promising new, small-molecule drug candidates discontinued in late-stage preclinical development by pharmaceutical developers due to heart or liver toxicity, despite positive efficacy data demonstrating their potential therapeutic and commercial benefits.
Shawn Singh, VistaGen's Chief Executive Officer, stated, "Over the past 25 years, Dr. Allen Cato and Lynda Sutton have established Cato Research as a highly successful CRO with unique and long-standing relationships within a broad and diverse network of pharmaceutical companies and regulatory agencies around the world. This new agreement is a logical extension of our long-term relationship with both Cato BioVentures and Cato Research. It tightly aligns our stem cell technology-based drug rescue interests with Cato's CRO growth goals and venture investment objectives. We believe the market demand for effective late-stage preclinical candidates with safety data generated with human heart cells and/or liver cells is strong and increasing. This relationship is yet another key component in our drug rescue ecosystem."
Under the new agreement, when either Cato BioVentures or Cato Research first becomes aware of a new drug candidate meeting VistaGen's drug rescue selection criteria, it will approach VistaGen with information about the candidate before any other organization. The expanded relationship is expected to provide VistaGen with potential drug rescue opportunities from within Cato's broad CRO service and venture capital networks. If VistaGen rescues (generates a new chemical variant of) a drug rescue candidate presented by Cato Research or Cato BioVentures, VistaGen will discuss prospective CRO service opportunities for the new chemical entity with Cato Research before contacting any other CRO.
"By applying the power of human pluripotent stem cell technology, we believe VistaGen is transforming drug development. Its Human Clinical Trial in a Test Tube™ platform puts clinically relevant human heart and liver biology at the front end of the development process, long before human studies. We are pleased to join VistaGen's efforts to identify and develop new drug candidates faster and less expensively through the use of its stem cell technology platform," stated Allen Cato, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cato Research.