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VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc. (VSTA) Uses Proprietary Stem Cell Technology to Address Two Separate Medical Needs

VistaGen Therapeutics is applying its innovative stem cell technologies in two separate but related fields. On the one hand, the company has developed one of the most important new approaches to the field of drug testing in decades, the use of stem cells to create their proprietary Human Clinical Trials in a Test Tube bioassay platform, which is designed to avoid the extensive time and expense involved in animal or other traditional tests. But VistaGen is also exploring a number of opportunities in the field of regenerative cell therapy, focused on blood, cartilage, heart, liver, and pancreas cells, each based on the proprietary stem cell differentiation and production capabilities of the company’s testing platform.

VistaGen’s stem cell based drug testing technology has resulted in CardioSafe 3D, a three-dimensional in vitro bioassay system for accurately assessing toxic (as well as non-toxic) effects of small-molecule drug candidates on human heart tissue. They are also finalizing the development of LiverSafe 3D, offering early and cost effective drug effect testing for the liver. VistaGen’s primary near-term goal for their testing technology is to use CardioSafe 3D, and eventually LiverSafe 3D, for drug rescue, to recapture substantial potential value associated with the pharmaceutical industry’s prior investment in drug discovery and development, involving once-promising small molecule drug candidates that were discontinued due to safety issues related to unexpected heart or liver toxicity or drug metabolism issues.

On the regenerative cell therapy side of things, VistaGen has developed AV-101, an orally available small molecule prodrug candidate, aimed at the needs of the multi-billion dollar neurological disease and disorders market. AV-101 has successfully completed Phase I development in the U.S. for treatment of neuropathic pain, a serious and chronic condition causing pain after an injury or disease of the peripheral or central nervous system. Neuropathic pain affects approximately 1.8 million people in the U.S. alone. The company has already been awarded over $8.3 million of grant funding by the National Institutes of Health to support preclinical and Phase I clinical development of AV-101. The company believes that AV-101 may also be a candidate for development as a therapeutic alternative for depression, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease.

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