Venture backer makes $7M bet on cardio drug tech that could rival stents

With drug delivery tech from a children's hospital in Philadelphia, Vascular Magnetics has pocketed a $7 million Series A round from lone investor Devon Park Bioventures. And the startup has ambitious plans to advance magnetic drug-loaded particles for the huge market to treat peripheral artery disease--offering a potential alternative to a range of existing interventions against the disease that affects some 10 million Americans, according to the company.

The startup's tech is based on the published work of Dr. Robert Levy at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The company proposes to develop Levy's magnetic drug-loaded particles to deliver treatments directly to diseased tissue with the aid of a magnetic catheter system and an external device to create a magnetic field, making the proposed product a true drug-device combo. The financing is expected to be enough to propel the company through preclinical development and an initial human trial, according to the company's COO and co-founder Richard Woodward.

"Current treatments for PAD such as angioplasty, grafts and stents, including drug-eluting stents, are not durable, with arterial re-obstruction (restenosis) occurring frequently," company Chairman Georges Gemayel said in a statement. "Vascular Magnetics' innovative approach to enhance local drug delivery has great potential to transform PAD treatment by delivering anti-restenotic drugs specifically to diseased artery sites at higher concentrations than are possible with drug-eluting stents."

Woodward stated that the startup aims to launch its maiden trial in 2014.

- here's the release