Novel therapy will have room to grow at USD Discovery District

June 27, 2018

This paid piece is sponsored by South Dakota Biotech.

After two decades in development, a unique drug and device combination for a hard-to-treat disease will have a new home at the USD Discovery District.

Alumend LLC, Avera’s wholly owned applied research and development company, will establish its corporate office and research laboratory in the district, occupying approximately 7,500 square feet.

Alumend scientists have developed Natural Vascular Scaffolding, or NVS, therapy, a novel drug and device combination for the treatment of peripheral vascular disease. They will continue their research and development of other uses of the NVS chemistry with potential applications in cancer, orthopedics and cosmetics at the USD Discovery District.

Ryan HansenWe asked Ryan Hansen, executive director of the Avera Research Institute, for an update on the company and its growth potential.

How significant is this move to the Discovery District? What will it allow Alumend to do?

As Alumend continues to grow and advance through the various stages of product development, it’s essential for our research team to have access to larger and more advanced laboratory and office facilities. Also the prospect to work within a collaborative environment that also hosts additional innovative technology companies can only further our knowledge and the potential to bring new opportunities. This move to the Discovery District sets us up for continued growth and success within Sioux Falls and the state of South Dakota.

For those who aren’t familiar with NVS therapy, can you explain how it works?

Traditionally, balloon angioplasty has been the proven medical therapy of choice to open arteries that become completely or partially blocked by plaque. As a result of the procedure, the artery wall becomes stretched and needs structure to keep it open for adequate blood flow. To date, this has been accomplished by a stent.

Alucent combines balloon angioplasty with a chemical process that builds natural scaffolding, or structure, to keep the vessel open, replacing the need for a stent.

A drug-delivery balloon is inserted via catheter into the diseased artery and is filled with the NVS drug. During a five-minute delivery phase, the NVS injection is delivered to the artery wall tissue through the balloon pores. A PTA balloon is then inserted along with the NVS light fiber. The PTA balloon is inflated and the NVS light source is activated to deliver light in the treatment zone for 60 seconds. The light activates the NVS drug and produces protein cross-linking that provides the NVS effect, or scaffolding.

Without the need for a vascular implant of any type, NVS will prop open the artery with natural structure, establishing blood flow and leave nothing behind but the natural elements of the human body.

It could be a quantum advancement in the treatment of peripheral vascular disease with the potential of totally eliminating vascular implants – stents and absorbable stents – and greatly reducing the need for retreatment.

 What’s the latest on your research and development? Where are you at and what’s next?

Alumend’s innovative product portfolio is focused on the repair and strengthening of tissue at the molecular level and is built on two core patented technologies: light-activated naphthalimides and chitosan-based bioadhesives. With these ground-breaking chemical platforms, Alumend has the ability to repair a wide range of body tissues and provide a complementary therapy through highly targeted, localized drug delivery.

Currently, we have active development efforts for drug delivery related to vascular and cancer treatment, orthopedics, skin or dermatologic and gastroenterology applications. The most advanced of these development efforts is tied to our gastroenterology program where we are focused on the repair of esophageal strictures with NVS therapy.

You’re starting with office and laboratory space, but is there the ability to grow into any sort of commercialization at the Discovery District?

The vision for Alumend has always been to set the standard of care with new clinical therapies based on the research and development of novel chemistries. As we advance our development efforts into defined, commercially viable procedures, new companies will need to be established to navigate through the regulatory approval process, required completion of clinical trials and ultimately commercialization. We’re optimistic that these companies and the additional jobs that would be created through these endeavors would be housed at the Discovery District, which would only further the economic and biotech growth within Sioux Falls and the state of South Dakota.

USD Discovery District: The road ahead for biotech companies, development

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Novel therapy will have room to grow at USD Discovery District

After two decades in development, a unique drug and device combination for a hard-to-treat disease will have a new home at the USD Discovery District.

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