Basking Bioscience Can Treat the 600,000 Stroke Victims Every Year

Which disease do you think causes the largest amount of combined morbidity and mortality in the United States today? Cancer? Diabetes? Heart disease? You may be surprised to learn that it is a stroke.

That is how Dr. Shahid Nimjee, the scientific founder of Basking Bioscience and practicing neurosurgeon at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, begins his explanation of stroke’s reality. It is what Basking Bioscience, with its novel treatment strategy, is doing to improve patient outcomes.

View Dr. Nimjee’s Highly Informative Tedx Talk here.

“Every year, 600,000 people suffer ischemic stroke where a clot blocks blood flow to the brain,” Dr. Nimjee said. “According to the American Heart Association, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds.”

Basking is led by CEO Richard Shea and a team experienced in biotechnology startups and bringing novel therapies to market to serve patients and their care teams better.

“It is important for people to realize how great the burden of stroke is,” Shea said. “There are treatments, but they don’t reach a lot of people. We are in a good place to change that with our rapid onset, reversible therapy. 

Current Stroke Therapies Can Treat Less than 15 Percent of Stroke Patients

When someone has an acute ischemic stroke (AIS), only two therapies are available to treat and reverse the impact. The first is the only FDA-approved pharmacologic therapy to dissolve the clots called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). tPA has a narrow treatment window, which restricts its use within four and one-half hours after the stroke symptoms first occurred. Plus, the drug impairs coagulation which leads to bleeding risk.

“While tPA breaks up a clot,” Dr. Nimjee said, “it can also cause bleeding in the brain. Not only is there a time limitation, but there are more than 22 additional criteria that determine if a patient is eligible to receive the drug. If you meet one of those exclusion criteria, you cannot get tPA. As a result, of the 600,000 people that suffer a stroke every year, only about 60,000 or 10 percent get tPA.”

For qualifying patients between zero and 24-hours post-stroke, thrombectomy can be a useful option—if the clot is in a large vessel and if the patient arrives at a stroke center.

The sooner the stroke patient receives tPA or a thrombectomy treatment, the better the outcome. These therapies can save lives, reverse some or all of the effects of a stroke, and reduce hospital stay. That’s the good news.

The not-so-good news is that with only about 100,000 stroke patients meet the medical  for tPA or thrombectomy, more than 80 percent (500,000) of the approximately 600,000 stroke patients per year are left without an acute treatment to rapidly restore blood flow to the brain.

Basking’s Technology Is the Result of More Than Two Decades of Research

Dr. Nimjee, Dr. Bruce Sullenger, a company founder, and other researchers at Duke University and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, have spent their careers solving this issue. “We have been living and breathing this type of research for 20 years,” Dr. Nimjee said. “We published our first paper on this work in 2007, and here we are 13 years later.”