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Sulfated Non-Anticoagulant Heparin Nanoparticle (VVP728) for Sickle Cell Disease Management

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 2R44HL147737-02
Agency Tracking Number: R44HL147737
Amount: $2,027,049.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: NHLBI
Solicitation Number: PA21-259
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-09-23
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2025-06-30
Small Business Information
Wynantskill, NY 12198-7801
United States
DUNS: 196257591
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (484) 889-2023
Business Contact
Phone: (518) 283-7659
Research Institution

Summary: Sickle cell disease (SCD) primarily afflicts African-Americans in the US, exacerbating an existing
health disparity. Approximately 1 in 13 African-American babies is born with the sickle cell trait and ~100,000
individuals live with SCD. Along with a range of adverse physiological effects resulting in painful vaso-occlusive
crises (VOC), patients suffer from poorer quality of life and a significantly decreased life expectancy (only 54
years). A handful of drugs are currently FDA approved; however, despite their benefits, there are drawbacks.
Hydroxyurea is effective for two genotypes accounting for only 60% of SCD patients and the frequency of painful
episodes is reduced by only 50%. Newer drugs (L-glutamine, crizanlizumab, voxelotor) lack improvement in
hemoglobin levels or lack reduction in number of VOCs. Alternative treatments, such as chronic blood transfusion
therapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, can provide benefit but can also lead to serious complications
or impose roadblocks including cost and finding matching donors. There is a significant unmet need for potent,
novel multi-modal SCD therapeutics that achieve optimal efficacy, safety, and quality of life. To meet this need,
Vascular Vision proposes a sulfated oxidized non-anticoagulant low molecular weight heparin (S-NACH) to
provide an extensive range of bioactivities without causing bleeding, a common dose limiting effect associated
with the clinical use of low molecular weight heparins. Proof-of-concept in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies
have established efficacy through multiple modes including anti-adhesion, anti-inflammation, anti-sickling,
vascular antithrombotic, and endothelial relaxation. Our subcutaneous nanoformulation (VVP728) demonstrated
improved SCD pharmacodynamics. This SBIR Phase II proposes IND-enabling studies to determine tolerability
of nanoformulated S-NACH (VVP728) in support of first in human trials (FIH) through the following Specific Aims:
Aim 1. Scale up manufacturing to establish PK/PD and support IND-enabling studies. To support
preclinical PK/PD and GLP toxicology testing, we will scale up the manufacturing of research grade drug
substance (DS: S-NACH) and drug product (DP: VVP728). Milestones: (1) Develop analytical and bioanalytical
methods, (2) Deliver research grade DS (2 kg) and DP (1.5 kg) under GLP, and (3) Determine PK and vascular
antithrombotic activity in rats and PD in Townes SCD mouse model for DS vs DP. Aim 2: Determine GLP safety
profile of S-NACH. We will conduct dose range finding studies (7 days) and GLP repeated dose studies (28
days) in rodent (rat) and non-rodent (dog) as well as in vitro assessments of protein binding, transporter and
CYP inhibition, effect on hERG current in transfected HEK-293 cells, and genotoxicity. In vivo central nervous
system (CNS: rats), respiratory (dogs), and cardiovascular (dogs) assessments will be completed. Milestones:
(1) Establish protein binding and potential for inhibition of transporters and CYPs by S-NACH, (2) Identify target
organs of toxicity to inform selection of dose in FIH study, and (3) Establish genotoxic potential of S-NACH in
Bacterial-Reverse Mutation and In Vitro Micronucleus Assays.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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