VascVersa is developing a new cell therapy for the treatment of conditions which currently cost the NHS over £1 billion each year. Almost half a million people in the UK suffer from chronic non-healing wounds, in particular, diabetic foot ulcers (DFU), caused largely by a lack of blood supply. Similar levels of incidence are found in almost all other countries across the globe. Despite immense medical research, currently available treatments are inadequate and 39% of treated wounds fail to heal. In the worst cases, particularly if left untreated, the condition can lead to limb amputation and reduced life expectancy.

Building on research at Queen’s University Belfast, VascVersa is developing a cell therapy product, Angicyte, which will address the underlying cause of the condition by promoting the formation of new blood vessels.  To date, the company has secured over £1.25 million in grant and equity funding and is aiming to enter clinical trials in 2025. 

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The Journey

The VascVersa team were awarded an ICURe NXNW award in August 2018. The team were part of Cohort A. This award allowed Christina (who is now CEO at VascVersa) to test the potential of her idea and determine whether there was a market for a cell therapy product. She travelled to different tradeshows and events across the world and spoke to experts in the Cell and Gene therapy field. The findings from 105 conversations were then presented as a pitch to a panel of experts at the Options Roundabout in October 2018 The panel advised that the best commercialisation strategy was to spin-out a company to exploit this opportunity and apply for Innovate UK funding. 

Dr Christina O’Neill.

Aug 2018

Started ICURe NxNW

Feb 2020

Successful IUK funding-project started

May 2021

Equity investment for VascVersa £250K

May 2022

Biomedical Catalyst project funding £350K

Aug 2022

Equity investment for VascVersa £500K

What companies had to say about the Innovate UK ICURe programme

Future Goals

VascVersa’s vision is to establish its cell therapy product, Angicyte, as a proven and cost-effective treatment for diseases caused by lack of blood supply.
Doing so will profoundly improve the lives of millions of people who currently suffer from painful, non-healing wounds, such as Diabetic Foot Ulcers (DFU).
Our current research and development is focused on building a process for clinical manufacture of our products, and conducting essential proof-of-concept studies. This will lead to a first clinical study, testing Angicyte for our first indication of DFU in 2025.
Success in our clinical trials will also allow VascVersa to demonstrate the economic value of Angicyte. By treating what is often an incurable and debilitating condition, Angicyte will enable more patients to return to work. It will also lead to fewer hospital admissions, saving the NHS money, and reduced waste from bandages and dressings, which are part of current standard of care.

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