Pervasis Technology More than a ‘Stentless Stent’

Pervasis Therapeutics, a Cambridge, MA, firm whose endothelial cell technology is shown to reverse vascular dysfunction and disruption, is working on a product that could serve as a viable alternative to controversial drug-eluting stents. But the company’s brass tells Technology Review this week that the product, Vascugel, shouldn’t be thought of as “just a ‘stentless stent.'”

Vascugel, as the name suggests, is a gel, which gets wrapped around the artery at the site of angioplasty and then biodegrades after 30-60 days. The gel is made of endothelial cells, which are contained in the inner linings of blood vessels. When placed around the artery, the cells within the gel release biochemical factors that promote healing and prevent restenosis, a narrowing of the blood vessel — and the problem that drug-eluting stents were designed to address. Stent growth, though, has been stymied recently by studies that suggest they may cause blood clots.

While overlapping applications are clear between stents and Vascugel, Pervasis CEO Steve Bollinger tells Technology Review, “It’s a mistake to say it’s just a ‘stentless stent.'” He points out that Vascugel can be used in the absence of a stent or in conjunction with one. And tests also are underway for using the gel in kidney dialysis patients.

In May, Pervasis was named to the Red Herring 100, an annual list that highlight’s the year’s most promising startup companies.

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