VistaGen Licenses Regenerative Medicine Technology To BlueRock Therapeutics

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On December 14, 2016, VistaGen Therapeutics (Nasdaq: VTGN) announced the company has sublicensed certain rights to its proprietary human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) technology platform to BlueRock Therapeutics, a newly formed joint venture between Bayer AG and Versant Ventures seeded with $225 million in new capital. The sublicensed technologies relate to the production of cardiac stem cells for the treatment of heart disease. Per terms of the agreement, BlueRock paid VistaGen a $1.25 million upfront payment, and VistaGen is eligible for future development milestones and royalties from BlueRock. 

The news was a nice positive surprise for shareholders of VistaGen. I was not expecting any announcement on VistaGen’s stem cell business so the fact that VistaGen was able to monetize these assets with upfront cash and continue to benefit from potentially sizable backend milestone payments and royalties from BlueRock is big positive. The Phase 2a clinical study with AV-101 at the U.S. NIMH continues on plan with data expected in the second quarter 2017. More importantly, VistaGen anticipates initiating its Phase 2b program with AV-101 as an adjunctive therapy for the treatment of major depressive disorder during the first half of 2017. 

A Positive Surprise From VistaGen 

VistaGen’s primary focus is on the clinical development of AV-101, a novel glycine B (GlyB) receptor antagonist that negatively modulates the NMDA receptor. AV-101 is an oral prodrug candidate that has demonstrated impressive antidepressant effects and safety in preclinical and Phase 1 studies and is currently in a Phase 2a study under the principal investigation of Dr. Carlos A. Zarate, MD, one of the nation's foremost experts in the field of depression, for the treatment of major depressive disorder. 

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