VistaGen Therapeutics and Duke University Publish Results on Production of Functional 3D Human Heart Tissue

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - May 7, 2013) - VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc. (OTCQB: VSTA), a biotechnology company applying stem cell technology for drug rescue, predictive toxicology and drug metabolism assays, announced that its high-quality, human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (heart cells) were used by collaboration partner Duke University to grow a revolutionary three-dimensional (3D) human heart muscle. An abstract of the original research article published in Biomaterials, an international journal covering the science and clinical application of biomaterials, can be found online at:

Researchers at Duke University combined VistaGen's human stem cell-derived heart cells with innovative tissue engineering and cardiac electrophysiology technologies to grow what is being called a "heart patch," which mimics the natural functions of native human heart tissue. This heart patch technology is being developed to aid in a better understanding of the biology critical to cardiac tissue engineering, for applications in regenerative cell therapy for heart disease, and as predictive in vitro assays for drug rescue and development.

H. Ralph Snodgrass, PhD, VistaGen's President and Chief Scientific Officer, stated, "The developed contractile forces and other functional properties of these cardiac tissues are remarkable and are significantly higher than any previous reports. The achievement of successfully growing a human heart muscle from cardiomyocytes derived from human pluripotent stem cells not only expands the scope of our drug rescue capabilities, but also reflects the advanced nature and potential of our collaboration with the skilled biomedical engineers at Duke Medical Center."

"VistaGen's human cardiomyocytes produced engineered cardiac tissues that exhibited structural and functional properties superior to those previously reported," said Dr. Nenad Bursac, Associate Professor in the Departments of Cardiology and Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. "This is the closest man-made approximation of natural human heart muscle to date."

Achieving this capability represents a significant breakthrough in heart cell-based therapies and in testing new medicines for potential heart toxicity and potential therapeutic benefits impacting heart disease. The following are among several key development points from the study:

The original research article also will be published in print in Biomaterials.

About VistaGen Therapeutics

VistaGen is a biotechnology company applying human pluripotent stem cell technology for drug rescue, predictive toxicology and drug metabolism screening. VistaGen's drug rescue activities combine its human pluripotent stem cell technology platform, Human Clinical Trials in a Test Tube, with modern medicinal chemistry to generate novel, safer chemical variants (Drug Rescue Variants) of once-promising small molecule drug candidates. These are drug candidates discontinued by pharmaceutical companies, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) or university laboratories, after substantial investment in discovery and development, due to heart or liver toxicity or metabolism issues. VistaGen uses its pluripotent stem cell technology to generate early indications, or predictions, of how humans will ultimately respond to new drug candidates before they are ever tested in humans, bringing human biology to the front end of the drug development process.

VistaGen's small molecule prodrug candidate, AV-101, has completed Phase 1 development for treatment of neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain, a serious and chronic condition causing pain after an injury or disease of the peripheral or central nervous system, affects millions of people worldwide.

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VistaGen Therapeutics and Duke University Publish Results on Production of Functional 3D Human Heart Tissue

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