A new drug with a novel mechanism of preventing restenosis was discovered by Associate Professor Sim Meng Kwoon of the National University of Singapore’s Pharmacology Department. The drug des-aspartate-angiotensin I (DAA-I) acts on a specific receptor, which is coupled to a specific prostaglandin pathway, to suppress clot formation. In this way, secondary or adverse effects have not been encountered with DAA-I.

Currently, metal stents that are inserted into patients’ blood vessels after angioplasty are coated with a bio-degradable polymer impregnated with drugs to prevent restenosis, or recurrent narrowing of blood vessels. Existing stent drugs like sirolimus and paclitaxel are nonspecific immunosuppressant and anti-cancer drugs, which may affect other cells.

Medlogics Device Corporation is a start-up company founded by a group of professionals with experience in medical devices and stents. It has a proprietary coating technology that enables drugs to be coated directly onto the metal of the stent bypassing the use of bio-degradable polymers. This technology reduces the cost of making the drug-coated stents, ensures consistent release of drugs, and reduces the inflammation caused by the polymers. DAA-I has been selected by the company as the first drug candidate out of seven candidates for further development with this technology.

The license agreement between NUS and Medlogics is the first of its kind for NUS and Singapore, in which a Singapore-discovered drug will be commercialized in the United States. It is also the first such combination where a specific anti-restenosis drug is incorporated by the new techonology.

ILO played an instrumental role in negotiating and completing the exclusive license agreement between NUS and Medlogics Device Corporation. ILO works with researchers such as Associate Prof Sim Meng Kwoon to transfer their technologies to industry.