Procardian Conducts Preclinical Trials for Novel Solution for Heart Disease Patients

Thousands of people in the United States die each year from heart disease. Moreover, an estimated 50 percent of U.S. adults have one or more risk factors associated with the disease.

Those statistics, plus a 20-plus year career in medical devices, a love of entrepreneurship, and a life-long connection to The Ohio State University, led CEO Brett Douglas to his current role at Procardian, an OSU spinout. Procardian commercializes ground-breaking therapies intended to improve patient recovery from myocardial infarction (MI), the medical term for heart attacks.

Procardian’s advanced heart patch aims to repair the damage that myocardial infarction causes to the heart 

Myocardial infarction leads to tissue damage and other long-term complications, including heart failure and death. When a patient has a heart attack, part of the heart dies from lack of oxygen and doesn’t pump anymore. Sometimes people have “silent heart attacks,” and don’t know that their heart has been damaged until a heart failure occurs.

“We are working on a heart patch that is placed on the area of the patient’s heart where the myocardial infarction occurred,” Douglas said. “The patch, which is a thin piece of scaffolding infused with stem cells, becomes part of the heart. The patch delivers several thousand cells to the heart and regrows the tissue to the natural state.”

Current treatments for MI include a surgical procedure called CABG, which places a stent to reopen arteries and restore blood supply. Physicians also treat myocardial infarction with medication to relieve pain, dislodge clots, or restore heart rhythm—but the damage to the heart muscle from the lack of blood supply is permanent.

In pre-clinical studies with the patch, Procardian is seeing pumping (the ejection fraction) improve from 15 to 20 percent. Procardian will be doing more studies ad trials. “Myocardial infarction is the starting point. This could be a vast game-changer for all patients out there suffering from heart failure and previous heart attacks,” Douglas said.

Columbus is a great place to start a company

Douglas, a serial entrepreneur with experience in diverse corporate roles, has previously started and sold two companies. “I love starting businesses,” he said. “I just love getting people involved and building the team. New businesses like Procardian can change people’s lives, and not just from the medical side. We are employing more people. We are bringing on interns and teaching them how to become the next generation of entrepreneurs. I love the build. I love the turnaround, bringing on the right people and putting them in the right positions.”

Procardian participates in the Rev1 Internship Program as well as with National Veterans Leadership Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports veterans. “My goal is to have some of these vets become part of our build-up,” Douglas said.

“They gain experience after the GI Bill, and that helps them figure out what kind of work they want to do,” he said. A startup differs from a corporation; it’s all hands on deck. It is a trial by fire. Employees and interns all get to participate. No one can stand in the corner and hang out.”

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