Vasa Therapeutics secures seed funding to target cardiovascular aging

US-Polish biopharma Vasa Therapeutics has closed a seed funding round, securing $6 million to advance the development of therapies focused on cardiovascular aging and frailty. The company has several preclinical programs underway, addressing age-related diseases such as heart failure, peripheral artery disease and sarcopenia.  

Vasa, with operations in California and Poland, says it has developed a “computational chemistry and design platform” to drive its drug discovery process, as it aims to extend the healthy lifespan of individuals by targeting the pathophysiology of cardiovascular aging.

The company’s most advanced program is a “personalized medicine-based” treatment for Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF) – also known as diastolic heart failure, which occurs when the heart doesn’t relax adequately. Claiming “robust reduction” of cardiac fibrosis in preclinical models, Vasa says a Phase 1 clinical trial for is scheduled for Q2 2024.

“This closing comes at an exciting time for Vasa as VS-041, our clinical candidate for HFpEF, enters the final stages of preclinical development with favorable FDA feedback at a recent pre-IND meeting,” said Dr Artur Plonowski, CEO of Vasa.

In addition to a CamKII inhibitor for heart failure and life-threatening arrhythmias, the company is also advancing a program of “long acting apelin peptide analogs” for combination treatment in obesity patients at risk for skeletal muscle loss or cardiovascular disease.

The seed funding, led by Orphinic Scientific, was complemented by $2.3 million in non-dilutive grant funding. Other participants in the round included NuFund Venture Group, SeedFolio and others. Orphinic’s chairman of the supervisory board, Prof. Jarosław Leszczyszyn, joins Vasa’s board of directors.

“[Vasa’s] novel biomarker strategy can lead to a personalized medicine-based therapy for HFpEF, a highly heterogenous disease, for which the currently available drugs do not provide durable improvement,” said Adam Kruszewski, CEO of Orphinic.