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More efficient method for preeclampsia treatment

Country of Origin: Germany
Reference Number: TODE20201012001
Publication Date: 12 October 2020

Summary

A German university offers an improved approach to treat preeclampsia, a disease that can affect pregnant women. The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-multimer based apheresis is more efficient than conventional methods and results in shorter treatment duration. Partners from medical and pharmaceutical industry are sought for license agreements.

Description

Preeclampsia is a potentially life-threatening multisystem disease affecting 4% to 8% of pregnant women after the 20th week of gestation (EGA - estimated gestational age). Around 20% of affected pregnancies have to be terminated before the 34th EGA. An excess of placental expressed anti-angiogenic soluble VEGF-receptor 1 sFlt-1 (Splice variant of VEGF-receptor 1: Soluble Fms-like thyrosinkinase-1) scavenges vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and placental growth factor (PlGF), causing generalized endothelial dysfunction. Interventions to restore the angiogenic balance in preeclamptic pregnancies are intensively studied and improve maternal and neonatal outcomes. Especially extracorporeal strategies to remove sFlt-1 are promising in human pregnancy. However, available apheresis systems adsorb sFlt-1 unspecifically and with low efficiency. Affinity enhanced ligands are needed to improve performance and compatibility of apheresis treatments.

Researchers of a German university hospital have developed VEGF-based sFlt-1 capturing molecules (scVEGF165) characterised by higher affinity for sFlt-1 as compared to competing products and the ability to displace complexed endogenous VEGF and PlGF from its binding to sFlt-1 in patient blood. Thus the angiogenic balance is restored in double action, which will result in shorter treatment duration and more efficient sFlt-1 removal at low sFlt-1 plasma levels. For ex vivo characterisation, ligands were immobilized to biocompatible agarose matrix routinely used in medical aphersis systems.

The university offers license agreements to medical engineering and pharmaceutical companies with an interest in the further development and implementation of the new method.
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Advantages and Innovations

There is strong interest in novel approaches with regard to extracorporeal therapies for preeclampsia. So far only one company is in the process of developing an antibody-based approach of sFlt-1 apheresis, which is less efficient as compared to this VEGF-based apheresis system. Specifically, the efficient liberation of endogenous VEGF and PlGF is an advantage of this novel approach:

• Higher affinity for sFlt-1 as compared to competing products
• Displace complexed endogenous VEGF and PlGF from its binding to sFlt-1
• Restoration of the angiogenic balance in double action

Stage Of Development

Under development/lab tested

Stage Of Development Comment

Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 - Technology validated in relevant environment

Before rolling out to clinical studies in pregnancies with preeclampsia, toxicity and compatibility, e.g. the safety of endogenous VEGF- and PlGF-release for mother and fetus, has to be tested in vivo. Finally, pivotal clinical trials comparing this novel strategy to the state-of-the-art at this future time point will be needed before approval of this novel medical device.

Requested partner

Partners from medical engineering and pharmaceutical industry with activities in gynecology are sought for license agreements. Within the cooperation the partners should support the further development and commercialise the invention.

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