VistaGen Therapeutics (VSTA) Announces Strategic Drug Screening Collaboration with Vala Sciences

VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company applying stem cell technology for drug rescue and cell therapy, just announced that it has entered into a strategic collaboration with Vala Sciences, Inc., a biotechnology company developing and selling next-generation cell image-based instruments, reagents, and analysis software tools. Together the companies aim to advance drug safety screening methodologies in the most clinically relevant human in vitro bioassay systems available to researchers today.

Cardiomyocytes are the muscle cells of the heart that pump blood throughout the body, and as such are the targets of most of the drug toxicities that directly affect the heart. Many of these drug toxicities result in either arrhythmia (irregular, often fatal, beating of the heart) or reduced ability of the heart to pump the blood necessary to maintain normal health and vigor.

“Our collaboration with Vala directly supports the core drug rescue applications of our Human Clinical Trials in a Test Tube™ platform,” stated Shawn K. Singh, JD, VistaGen’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our high quality human cardiomyocytes combined with Vala’s high throughput electrophysiological assessment capabilities is yet another example of how we are applying our stem cell technology platform within a strategic ecosystem of complementary leading-edge companies and technologies. We seek to drive our drug rescue programs forward and generate a pipeline of new, cardiosafe drug candidates.”

Through the collaboration, Vala will use its Kinetic Image Cytometer platform to demonstrate both the suitability and utility of VistaGen’s human pluripotent stem cell derived-cardiomyocytes for screening new drug candidates for potential cardiotoxicity over conventional in vitro screening systems and animal models. VistaGen’s validated human cardiomyocyte-based bioassay system, CardioSafe 3D™, will permit Vala to demonstrate the quality, resolution, applicability and ease of use of its new instrumentation and analysis software to make information-rich, high throughput measurements and generate fundamentally new insights into heart cell drug responses.

Accurate, sensitive and reproducible measurement of electrophysiological responses of stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes to new drug candidates is a key element of VistaGen’s CardioSafe 3D™ drug rescue programs. VistaGen’s strategic collaboration with Vala is directed towards this goal.

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