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First of Its Kind Human Heart-In-A-Jar Model for Therapeutic Solutions

Global stem cell biotechnology company, Novoheart collaborates with AstraZeneca to co-develop the first Human Heart-in-a-Jar Model of heart failure to provide a unique solution for future assessment of novel therapeutics.

Heart failure (HF) is a global pandemic due to its high prevalence of an estimated 64.3 million cases worldwide in 2017 and the trend continues to increase year on year. This represents an annual global economic burden of disease of over US$100 billion. One form of HF is heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) that accounts for 50 percent of HF cases. Despite this major and growing public health problem worldwide, its pathological mechanisms and diverse aetiology is poorly understood.

These complexities thus demands the need for accurate models of the disease in order to provide an effective tool for preclinical testing of the efficacy of therapeutic solutions. In view of this, Novoheart and the Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism therapy area of AstraZeneca aims to establish a new in vitro model, leveraging Novoheart’s proprietary 3-D human ventricular cardiac organoid chamber (hvCOC) technology, that reproduces key phenotypic characteristics of HFpEF.

Also known as “human heart-in-a-jar”, the hvCOC is the only human engineered heart tissue available on the market to date that enables clinically informative assessment of human cardiac pump performance including ejection fraction and developed pressure. Unlike animal models, engineered hvCOCs can be fabricated with specific cellular and matrix compositions, and patient-specific human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), that allow control over their physical and mechanical properties to mimic those observed in HFpEF patient hearts.

“We are delighted to partner with AstraZeneca, an organization which has long invested in cardiovascular research and is committed to bringing new therapeutic solutions to patients with heart failure,” said Novoheart CSO, Dr. Kevin Costa. “We look forward to co-developing this new HFpEF hvCOC model into a powerful new tool in the worldwide battle against heart failure.”

Novoheart will exclusively own the intellectual property rights to the newly developed HFpEH hvCOC model.

Regina Fritsche Danielson, Senior Vice President, Head of Research and Early Development, Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca, said, “There are significant unmet treatment needs in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. By combining Novoheart’s proprietary hvCOC model with our expertise in heart failure, we aim to create the first in vitro model reproducing phenotypic characteristics of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. This could bridge the gap between in vivo animal models and clinical trials to help accelerate the drug discovery process by providing human-specific preclinical data.” [APBN]