The biotech company is developing a cell therapy that could help patients who have suffered a heart attack. It’s the latest company led by medtech entrepreneur Bill Niland.
NeoProgen, a Baltimore-based company led by medtech entrepreneur Bill Niland, raised $1.5 million in seed funding as it develops a cell therapy for patients following a heart attack.
The round featured an all-Maryland lineup of investors: The University System of Maryland’s Momentum Fund, which contributed $245,000; TEDCO; and UM Ventures, which is the commercialization arm of the University of Maryland.
Like his earlier venture, Harpoon Medical, NeoProgen has origins in research at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. That’s where Dr. Sunjay Kaushal, a leading pediatric cardiac surgeon, found that a specific kind of stem cells are extremely effective in regenerating muscle tissue in the heart.
While they are normally discarded following surgery on infants with congenital heart disease, the regenerative properties of these still-growing cells can be particularly effective in healing, Niland said. They can be put to use to help patients who suffered a heart attack, a group of which 40% experience heart failure.
Through research studies, “what we’re seeing is that the cells greatly diminish the damage to the heart from the heart attack,” Niland said.
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