November 20, 2013
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Humacyte, Inc., a pioneer in regenerative medicine, today announced the presentation of interim, first-in-human data from an ongoing, multi-center study in Poland, evaluating the company’s investigational bioengineered blood vessel in hemodialysis patients with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). The data were presented by Dr. Jeffrey H. Lawson, M.D., Ph.D., at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2013 in Dallas, Texas (abstract). Dr. Lawson is Professor of Surgery and Pathology with tenure at Duke University Medical Center (Durham, North Carolina, USA), and Director of the Vascular Research Laboratory and Director of Clinical Trials for the Department of Surgery. He is also Clinical Consultant to Humacyte.
This is the first time surgical data from patients have been reported for the Humacyte investigational bioengineered vessel; the interim data come from a cohort of 28 study 2 participants out of a total of 30 that will ultimately be enrolled in the three-site study in Poland (http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT01744418%20CLN-PRO-V001%20NCT01744418). The first patients were implanted with the investigational vessels in December, 2012, and the vessels were first used for hemodialysis in February, 2013. The primary endpoints of the study in Poland are safety, tolerability, and patency to be examined at each visit within the first six months after graft implantation. Patients will be followed for an additional six months.
The interim patient data suggest that the Humacyte investigational bioengineered vessel may potentially be associated with low rates of vessel clotting, low infection rates, and low rates of surgical interventions. Low rates of clotting and intervention are consistent with preclinical data from animal testing that indicated little intimal hyperplasia. Preclinical data also indicated that, in animals, investigational vessels were remodeled to become living and more similar to native tissue. To date in the Polish study, the investigational vessel has remained open to blood flow (patent), with no indication of an immune response in recipients, no aneurysms (abnormal widening or ballooning of part of an artery due to weakness in the blood vessel wall), and flow rates and durability suitable for dialysis. Longer follow-up and additional clinical studies will be required to confirm these preliminary observations.
Co-authors on the presentation were: Drs. Marek Iłżecki, Tomasz Jakimowicz, Alison Pilgrim, Stanisław Przywara, Jacek Szmidt, Jakub Turek, Wojciech Witkiewicz, Norbert Zapotoczny, Tomasz Zubilewicz, and Laura Niklason.
Described by Investigator as “Breakthrough Investigational Technology”
“Based on our experience to date, this is breakthrough investigational technology,” said Principal Investigator Prof. Tomasz Zubilewicz, M.D., Ph.D.,!head, Department of Vascular Surgery and Angiology, Medical University of Lublin, Poland. “The investigational bioengineered vessel seems like it could have the potential to be shown to be superior to synthetic grafts in vascular access for hemodialysis in all aspects. This technology also has potential for other areas of vascular surgery, including replacement of infected synthetic grafts.”
“We are very encouraged by the Humacyte investigational bioengineered vessel’s performance in end-stage renal disease patients,” said Dr. Lawson. “Tremendous medical need exists for vascular access grafts in patients with ESRD who require dialysis. Based on this interim data and other ongoing research, we believe that the investigational bioengineered vessel has potential to meet this significant need.”
Need to Overcome Limitations of PTFE Grafts
Currently available synthetic vessels made from polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) are subject to many complications and about half fail within a year, requiring replacement surgery. PTFE vessels tend to become blocked (have low patency rates), have high rates of stenosis (an abnormal narrowing in a blood vessel that can be associated with hemodialysis), and high intervention rates.
“We continue to make significant progress in our research and development program with the Humacyte investigational bioengineered blood vessel,” said Laura E. Niklason, M.D., Ph.D., professor and vice chair of Anesthesia, professor of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University, and founder, Humacyte. “With our current interim study data, all of the Humacyte vessels have remained open to blood flow, with 20 out of the 28 implants requiring no intervention to date. We are grateful to patients, investigators, regulators and the broader vascular community for their ongoing collaboration and support in advancing this science.”
Unmet Medical Need in Chronic Kidney Disease
The Humacyte investigational technology is being developed with the goal of pursuing approval for use in patients with chronic kidney disease, a major global health problem affecting 26 million Americans1 and around 40 million people in the European Union (EU). 2 Individuals who progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) require renal replacement therapy (hemodialysis or kidney transplant); more than 380,000 patients currently require hemodialysis in the U.S.3 and some 250,000 patients require hemodialysis or have had kidney transplants in the EU.4 The investigational bioengineered vessels, if successfully developed and approved for use in ESRD by regulatory authorities, could offer the potential for significant cost savings to the healthcare system. These investigational bioengineered vessels represent a research and development milestone in vascular tissue engineering, as this technology could have the potential to help reduce or avoid surgical interventions and hospitalizations for patients with ESRD.
Investigators Highlight Preliminary Experiences In Patients
The investigators involved with the study in Poland cited their clinical observations in connection with the release of the preliminary patient data obtained for the Humacyte investigational technology.
“It was an exciting experience to be involved with this study, and to participate in this potential breakthrough in vascular surgery. This investigational bioengineered vein is a promising 4 development for vascular surgeons,” said Principal Investigator Prof. Jacek Szmidt, head of the Department of General, Vascular and Transplant Surgery, Medical University of Warsaw, Poland.
“The Humacyte investigational bioengineered vessel was very easy to handle during implantation in this study. The graft maintained excellent mechanical properties, and based on our team’s experience, the complication rate to date has been very low compared with synthetic grafts,” said Investigator Stanisław Przywara, M.D., Ph.D., senior assistant, Department of Vascular Surgery and Angiology, Medical University of Lublin, Poland
“During implantation in this study, the Humacyte investigational vessel behaved very much like a native vein. Anastomotic hemostasis was achieved almost immediately. Insertion of needles to perform hemodialysis was easy and as reported by our nephrologists, provides very good adequacy of hemodialysis,” said Investigator Marek Iłżecki, M.D., Ph.D., senior resident, Department of Vascular Surgery and Angiology, Medical University of Lublin, Poland.
A multi-center U.S. clinical trial began in May, 2013 under a U.S. Investigational New Drug (IND) application. The U.S. trial will involve up to 20 patients across three sites to assess safety and performance of the innovative, investigational bioengineered blood vessels to provide vascular access for hemodialysis in ESRD patients.
About the Investigational Bioengineered Blood Vessels
The Humacyte investigational bioengineered blood vessels are manufactured in a novel bioreactor system. The investigational bioengineered vessels go through a process of decellularization, which is designed to render them potentially non-immunogenic and implantable into any patient. These investigational bioengineered vessels are designed to be stored off-the-shelf for up to 12 months under standard refrigerated conditions, including, if successfully developed and approved, on-site in hospitals. Subject to receipt of regulatory approval, these properties could make the investigational bioengineered vessels readily available to surgeons and patients, and could eliminate the wait for vessel production or shipping. Data from studies of the investigational bioengineered vessels in large animal models reflect resistance to thickening for up to one year, and the early human studies that are now underway will provide safety and performance data in patients to support a future application for regulatory approval.
Humacyte, Inc., a privately held company founded in 2005, is a medical research, discovery and development company with clinical and pre-clinical stage investigational products. Humacyte is primarily focused on developing and commercializing a proprietary novel technology based on human tissue-based products for key applications in regenerative medicine and vascular surgery. The company uses its innovative, proprietary platform technology to engineer human, extracellular matrixbased tissues that are designed be shaped into tubes, sheets, or particulate conformations, with properties similar to native tissues. These are being developed for potential use in many specific applications, with the goal to significantly improve treatment outcomes for a variety of patients, including those with vascular disease and those requiring hemodialysis. The company’s proprietary technologies are designed to result in off-the-shelf products that, once approved, can be utilized in any patient. The company web site is www.humacyte.com.
Information in this news release contains “forward-looking statements” about Humacyte. These statements, including statements regarding management’s projections relating to future results and operations, are based on, among other things, management’s views, assumptions and estimates, developed in good faith, all of which are subject to known and unknown factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements, or industry results, to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.