News | August 08, 2014

Startup Company Brings Ultrasound-assisted Stroke Treatment to Market

Placement agent Spencer Trask Ventures rallies investors to "Take Stock in Stroke"

August 8, 2014 — Vesselon Inc. is a development stage company that is creating one of the world's first portable devices for the immediate treatment of ischemic stroke — the most common type of stroke affecting 87 percent of patients. Vesselon has engaged private investment firm Spencer Trask Ventures Inc. as its placement agent to market a private preferred round to facilitate development of this immediate and early stroke treatment.

Vesselon's product is an ultrasound device that is intended to be used by paramedics in the field, professionals trained in advanced life support skills, and physicians in hospitals to treat stroke victims early. The portable, noninvasive device is being developed to use non-imaging ultrasound, along with intravenous-administered microbubbles, to dissolve clots.

"We believe our device can be compared to an ultrasound 'automated external defibrillator (AED)' for stroke," stated Clay Larsen, president, CEO and co-founder of Vesselon. "It will be designed to immediately treat ischemic stroke victims before or as they arrive at a hospital — critical because minutes matter to save lives and save quality of lives."

Stroke has an enormous impact worldwide. Annually it takes more lives than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Prolonged delay in restoring blood flow to affected areas of the brain after an ischemic stroke may result in severe or permanent incapacitation, paralysis, loss of speech or cognitive function. Stroke is the leading cause of permanent disability in virtually every region of the globe.

Standard recommended therapy today in developed countries for ischemic stroke is to use the drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to dissolve a clot. A major limitation is that only about 5 percent of ischemic stroke patients receive tPA or any acute treatment, as most patients do not meet the strict criteria for tPA use. This means that 95 percent of ischemic stroke victims do not get any acute treatment.

"This has the potential to remake the whole stroke treatment field, to change the whole ballgame," said George C. Newman, chairman of the Department of Neurosensory Sciences and director of the Stroke Program at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.

Newman noted that where stroke is concerned, "time is brain," meaning that the quicker the victim gets treatment, the better the chances that brain function will be retained. For every minute left untreated, the brain loses 1.9 million neurons.

Rhodemann Li, executive VP and founder of Vesselon noted, "Just as AEDs now save cardiac arrest patients' lives, we believe our proposed portable, battery powered, noninvasive immediate ischemic stroke treatment has the potential to save lives, improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. This could have a tremendous impact not only in developed countries, but also in developing countries where the burden of stroke is particularly devastating. Since our technology does not involve an imaging device, expensive image acquisition equipment and interpretation training and skills will not be necessary for use by first responders."

The technology is expected to take approximately four to five years to bring to market.

"There are no medical devices available yet for first responders to treat stroke," said Steve Wendler, CEO of Spencer Trask Ventures, the placement agent leading a Series A investment round for Vesselon. "Spencer Trask provides investment and intellectual capital to early stage companies through a network of private investors and business leaders and Vesselon is a prime example of important ideas we realize. We are inviting accredited investors to 'Take Stock in Stroke'," added Wendler.

"Anyone who knows someone who has suffered a stroke understands that time is critical, not just to saving a life but to helping an individual recover, a process that is tedious, expensive, and not always completely successful," added Kevin Kimberlin, lead investor and chairman of Spencer Trask & Co., parent company of Spencer Trask Ventures Inc. "We are excited about developing this technology that will change the landscape of treatment for one of the world's deadliest diseases, and help change the world for the better."

For more information: vesselon.com, spencertraskco.com

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