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Russian Government Praises Neovasculgen, an Innovative Drug Developed by HSCI

On September 18, 2012, a meeting was held at Skolkovo on issues concerning the innovative development of the healthcare sector in Russia. Speaking at the meeting, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev noted that in 2011 eighteen new medicines obtained marketing authorization in Russia and of them only two can be considered breakthroughs – Neovasculgen®, developed by HSCI to treat Peripheral Arterial Disease, and the tuberculosis-fighting medication Perchloson, developed by the St. Petersburg Scientific Research Institute of Phthisiopulmonology.

“It is common knowledge that relatively few innovative medications (10, 15, 20) are registered annually worldwide,” Dmitry Medvedev said. “It is heartening news that, this year, the Russian authorities have issued practically 2,800 patents for various medical inventions. Russian companies and Russian individuals hold 2,000 patents, and the remaining 770 patents belong to foreign companies and individuals.”

Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova said: “In the last 50 years the development of biomedicine produced a highly specific and effective personal approach. According to forecasts, the next 50 years will see a breakthrough in the efforts to counter dangerous vascular, contagious and neuro-degenerative diseases, which may substantially increase a person’s life span – by more than 30 years – and change the socio-economic and technological paradigms. There is no doubt that biomedicine is one the main factors in the development of civilization as a whole.”

The innovative drug Neovasculgen® is designed to treat Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), including Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI), caused by atherosclerosis (a thickening of artery walls and subsequent reduction of blood flow) in the legs. While there are no official statistics on PAD in Russia, according to HSCI’s estimates no less than 1.5 million citizens suffer from this ailment. In Russia each year approximately 144,000 patients are diagnosed with CLI and 30,000-40,000 patients undergo amputations.

Neovasculgen® provides a new approach to treatment of PAD – the activation of the naturally programmed process for the formation and growth of blood vessels, which has been called therapeutic angiogenesis. The adoption of this approach in practice is such a notable event in the world of medical science that the March issue of Nature Medicine (March 2012, V.18, № 3, p.328) – one of the most influential and authoritative scientific journals – published a special article devoted to the development of gene-therapy treatments for PAD and CLI and in particular Neovasculgen® developed by HSCI.

The drug contains the gene of the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) embedded in a plasmid vector (carrier). Neovasculgen® stimulates the growth of collateral blood vessels and, as a result, promotes a long-term therapeutic effect and improves patients’ life. The therapeutic effect following a treatment course of Neovasculgen® continues for up to two years. The observation of patients participating in the clinical trials over the course of two years concluded in November 2011 and the results will be published soon. It is suggested that the drug’s mechanism of action can provide an even longer effect – observation of patients will continue over the course of five years from the initial treatment.

Full Version of the Press Release (216 kb)

19 September 2012