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Despite Challenges, Congestive Heart Failure Draws A Crowd

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Across the industry, cardiovascular R&D budgets are shrinking, and in some cases, practically disappearing. Some large companies are de-emphasizing the cardiovascular space, citing factors ranging from the size and high expense of clinical trials to the challenge of proving benefit when most experimental therapies are tested in tandem with current standards of care. Nonetheless, for those companies still willing to venture into the cardiovascular arena, congestive heart failure (CHF) offers a huge, lucrative indication to pursue. Several start-up firms are targeting CHF and related conditions by a variety of mechanisms, including polymer therapeutics, microRNA targeting and gene therapy. In this issue, we profile four such start-ups: miRagen Therapeutics, NellOne Therapeutics, Phrixus Pharmaceuticals and Sorbent Therapeutics.

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It's no secret increasing generic competition and regulatory oversight, combined with the financial challenges of developing a primary care drug, make cardiovascular a tough place for venture-backed biotechs. START-UP takes the pulse of four previously profiled cardiovascular companies -- arca Biopharma, Celladon, NovaCardia and Portola Pharmaceuticals, -- to see what lessons they've learned.

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