Forcefield Therapeutics presents positive preclinical data at the 2022 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association
Preclinical data outlining the mechanisms of three proteins shown to restore heart function following acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) presented at AHA
Proteins were identified by FunSel technology and developed by Forcefield
London UK, 7 November 2022 – Forcefield Therapeutics (“Forcefield”) Ltd, a pioneer of best-in-class therapeutics to protect heart function by arresting the loss of cardiomyocytes following myocardial infarction, has presented positive preclinical data on three proteins identified by the FunSel platform which have potential to preserve heart function following a heart attack.
The paper, Novel Recombinant Cardioprotective Factors Against Myocardial Infarction Selected in vivo from an AAV Secretome Library, was presented on Sunday November 6th at the 2022 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association (AHA) in Chicago by Dr Mateusz Tomczyk, Research Associate at King’s College London.
The paper presented preclinical data outlining the mechanisms of three proteins identified by FunSel, Forcefield’s protein ‘search engine’. FunSel is ‘gene agnostic’: unconstrained by genetics and does not rely on knowledge of which factor is causing a disease. It allows ‘functional selection’ of therapeutic factors for disease phenotype correction. FunSel contains a library of thousands of AAV vectors encoding secreted proteins.
Results presented at AHA show that, after two rounds of iterative selection in mice, the three proteins identified by FunSel preserved cardiomyocyte viability, sustained cardiac function and prevented pathological remodelling. In both neonatal cardiomyocytes and adult hearts, all three factors reduced apoptosis and induced protective macro-autophagy. In particular, Chrdl1 exerted its protective activity by binding and inhibiting extracellular bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4), which resulted in protection against cardiomyocyte death and induction of autophagy in cardiomyocytes after myocardial infarction. In addition, it was found that two variants optimised for clinical development demonstrate preliminary efficacy when administered using the anticipated clinical route and time of administration in a myocardial infarction model.
The work developing FunSel originated at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biology (ICGEB) and the University of Trieste, Italy. It has been further developed by Mauro Giacca, Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences at King’s College London and co-founder of Forcefield Therapeutics and supported by the British Heart Foundation. Forcefield Therapeutics, a pioneer of best-in-class therapeutics to retain heart function via protection of cardiomyocytes was launched in 2022 backed by leading healthcare investor Syncona and is undertaking the development work to enable clinical trials in patients in the future.
Professor Mauro Giacca commented: “While early stage, these data support our conviction in the importance of the three proteins we have identified. These can be administered immediately after a heart attack to minimise cardiac damage and therefore have the potential to revolutionise treatments for patients at risk of heart failure.
“These findings reveal a method for the systematic, in vivo selection of tissue protective factors and disclose novel potential cardiac therapeutics, and we’re very excited about their potential.”
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Notes to Editors
About Forcefield Therapeutics Ltd.
Forcefield Therapeutics Ltd (Forcefield Tx) is a pioneer of best-in-class therapeutics to retain heart function via protection of cardiomyocytes.
Forcefield Tx was founded by scientists, industry experts and investors with a shared purpose to revolutionise treatment following acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Forcefield’s unique approach can both retain and protect heart cells, minimising the impact of AMI and preventing the cascade of events that may lead to subsequent heart failure. Forcefield Tx is led by a proven team with a record of success from discovery to commercialisation. It launched in April 2022, backed by leading FTSE 250 healthcare company, Syncona with an initial investment of £5.5 million. For more information please visit: forcefieldtx.com.
FunSel is a proprietary in vivo ‘gene therapy search engine’ developed by Purespring Therapeutics’ co-founder Professor Mauro Giacca, Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences at King’s College, London.
FunSel is ‘gene agnostic’: unconstrained by genetics and therefore does not rely on knowledge of which gene is causing a disease. It allows ‘functional selection’ of therapeutic factors for disease phenotype correction. FunSel contains a library of thousands of AAV vectors encoding secreted proteins.
Because it is gene agnostic, FunSel offers potential to allow the application of gene therapy to non-monogenic disorders and treat much broader patient populations.
The platform has already been instrumental in the creation of Purespring Therapeutics and sister company Forcefield Therapeutics, a pioneer of best-in-class therapeutics to protect heart function and has broad potential for researchers developing gene therapy in many disease areas. It provides Purespring with opportunities to support industry peers through partnering and potential collaborations.
About the British Heart Foundation
It is only with donations from the public that the BHF can keep its life saving research going. Help us turn science fiction into reality. With donations from the public, the BHF funds ground-breaking research that will get us closer than ever to a world free from the fear of heart and circulatory diseases. A world where broken hearts are mended, where millions more people survive a heart attack, where the number of people dying from or disabled by a stroke is slashed in half. A world where people affected by heart and circulatory diseases get the support they need. And a world of cures and treatments we can’t even imagine today. Find out more at bhf.org.uk.