JumpStart and Portal Capital Invest in TheraVasc

Jan 05, 2010, 15:45 ET from JumpStart, Inc.

CLEVELAND, Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- JumpStart Inc., the Northeast Ohio venture development organization that accelerates the progress of high growth early-stage businesses, and Portal Capital, a Cleveland-based private equity firm investing in life science companies, each announce an investment commitment of $250,000 in TheraVasc Inc., for a total commitment of $500,000. The Cleveland, Ohio company is commercializing a treatment for peripheral artery disease.

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TheraVasc has patented the use of sodium nitrate, an FDA-approved drug, in an oral formulation to treat vascular diseases, including peripheral artery disease (PAD). Sodium nitrite has already been shown to selectively promote the re-growth of blood vessels in tissues that have been blood-restricted due to PAD. In the U.S. alone, PAD, which can result from not only diabetes, but any condition that leads to blockage in arteries in the legs, affects nearly 14 million people with a sales market estimated at $1.3 to $3.3 billion annually.

With the investment, in addition to a recently awarded $100,000 loan from the Innovation Fund of the Lorain County Community College Foundation, TheraVasc plans to complete a phase I clinical study in humans. JumpStart Venture Partner, Kevin Mendelsohn, of the JumpStart Ventures team, will be working with the company to meet its milestones. "Because the company is repurposing a drug that is already FDA approved, it's on an accelerated track to providing an effective treatment for a condition that doesn't have one currently," Mendelsohn said.

According to John Zak, M.D., partner of Portal Capital, the region's ability to coordinate incubation and Ohio Third Frontier support with private capital resources played a major role in bringing this exciting new biopharma technology to the region. "TheraVasc represents an important opportunity for Northeast Ohio to have a meaningful impact in the world of biopharmaceutical intervention - a space in which the region has not flourished to date."

"I was struck by the strength of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Northeast Ohio," said Tony Giordano, TheraVasc President and CEO. "The funding we're receiving, the resources like that of the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center (GCIC) available for entrepreneurs, and the skills of the people here have made this region the best place to build a biopharmaceutical company."

About TheraVasc Inc.

TheraVasc Inc., located in Cleveland, Ohio is dedicated to reducing the risk, cost, and time associated with drug development by focusing on developing repurposed drugs for unserved vascular disease markets. TheraVasc's initial product, TV1001 (an oral formulation of sodium nitrite) targets patient populations with poor blood flow to the extremities, such as those with diabetic leg and foot problems or those with peripheral artery disease (PAD). While there are a large and growing number of patients suffering from each of these diseases, there are no effective treatments available. TV1001 has been shown to selectively promote the re-growth of blood vessels only in ischemic tissues such as those affected in patients with diabetes or by PAD. A recent opinion article from leading clinical experts on PAD and angiogenesis concludes that this compound revives "hope that a drug might one day be available." The company is currently in clinical development with this compound.

About JumpStart Inc.

JumpStart Inc. is a nationally recognized venture development organization that accelerates the progress of high potential, early-stage businesses and includes a special focus on diverse entrepreneurs working in the highest growth industries. Through the depth of its entrepreneurial team and the breadth of its high value resources, JumpStart improves client success in achieving significant milestones, including raising the follow-on capital necessary to create wealth. JumpStart strives to create a more prosperous future for Northeast Ohio.

About Portal Capital

Portal Capital is a Cleveland-based private equity investment firm that specializes in small-market private equity investments within Life Science related companies. Founded in 2008 by executives from medical manufacturing, healthcare investment banking and clinical medicine, the Portal team offers a combined history of over 50 years of experience in operations, finance, and clinical expertise. Through value added experience, capital, and other business resources, Portal Capital offers immediate support to the management teams of their portfolio investments. Portal Capital typically seeks to deploy its resources in regionally-based opportunities that exhibit unique and compelling technology that is either disruptive to current market solutions or fulfills the unmet needs of large market opportunities.

SOURCE JumpStart, Inc.