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Phrixus Pharmaceuticals Inc.

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Phrixus Pharmaceuticals Inc. aims to repurpose a compound that may be able to boost the blood-pumping capacity of damaged hearts. Carmeseal was originally developed in the 1950s by BASF as a surfactant called poloxamer-188. If results seen in several animal cardiovascular models can be reproduced in humans, Phrixus’ compound could become an emergency room treatment for acute decompensated heart failure.

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Start-Up Previews (04/2010)

A preview of the emerging health care companies profiled in the current issue of Start-Up. This month's profile group, "Despite Challenges, Congestive Heart Failure Draws A Crowd," features profiles of miRagen, NellOne Therapeutics, Phrixus Pharmaceuticals and Sorbent Therapeutics. Plus these Start-Ups Across Health Care: Ambicare, Anulex Technologies, NeoTract and Sistemic.

miRagen Therapeutics Inc.

miRagen Therapeutics Inc. is developing microRNA-based therapeutics for treating cardiovascular and muscle disease. The company is farthest along with researching potential treatments for heart disease. It has advanced several candidates including the miR-15/195 family to improve cardiac remodeling that occurs in heart muscle following a heart attack, miR-208 and miR-499 to address heart failure, and miR-29 to treat cardiac fibrosis.

NellOne Therapeutics Inc.

NellOne Therapeutics Inc. believes it can help patients restore muscle mass and function thanks to a gene called Nell-1. If early studies bear out, the company’s research could yield protein therapeutics capable of regenerating muscle around joint replacements and even in hearts damaged by heart attacks. An in vitro study of heart muscle cells showed the protein could protect those cells and prevent them from dying in the very kind of low-oxygen situation that typifi es the conditions that heart muscle cells encounter during a heart attack. NellOne has chosen to develop its technology as a wound-healing therapy initially, because that research is farthest along and the path to market is shorter than for a cardiovascular indication.

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