Shimojani Licenses New Stroke Therapy from Niigata University


Shimojani LLC, a privately held biotech company, today announced that it has acquired an exclusive license from Niigata University for worldwide development and commercialization rights to an invention that has the potential to substantially reduce the risk of hemorrhage in acute ischemic stroke patients, including those who receive tissue plasminogen activator (tPA).

Risk of hemorrhage is the limiting factor associated with pharmacological or mechanical clot disruption and is believed to contribute to the severity of clinical symptoms even in untreated patients. Based on an improved animal model for stroke, a key pathway has been implicated, with validation of the importance of the pathway established in the animal model using previously described agents, both protein and small molecule. Terms of the license agreement were not disclosed.

Building on these preclinical findings from the laboratory of Dr. Takayoshi Shimohata, Associate Professor in Niigata University’s Brain Research Institute and a collaborator and academic advisor to the Company, Shimojani has engaged with leading stroke experts in the U.S. who are seeking to confirm the pathway’s importance by analyzing its state of activation in human clinical specimens from stroke patients.

Shimojani co-founder and Vice President Larry Kauvar commented, “The fundamental advance by Dr. Shimohata was to identify a signal transduction pathway that plays a key role in determining the severity of a stroke. This was made possible due to Dr. Shimohata’s innovative use of a rodent model for stroke that more accurately mimics the human situation. It is an honor for Shimojani to have the opportunity to advance this work towards human clinical trials. The invention has the potential to produce dramatic improvement in survival and quality of life for individuals suffering from this leading cause of death and morbidity.”

Dr. Shimohata commented, “We have been focusing on research to develop novel drugs that inhibit hemorrhage after thrombolytic therapy for acute ischemic stroke using rodent models. I look forward to collaborating with Shimojani’s experienced biotechnology management team to evaluate proprietary therapeutic compounds and also advance our laboratory research.”

Prof. Masatoyo Nishizawa, Chairman of Neurology in the Brain Research Institute at Niigata University, and also acollaborator of Dr. Shimohata, commented, “I hope that cooperation with Shimojani LLC will make a significant progress in advancing our basic research findings into clinical applications that will benefit the many victims of acute ischemic stroke.”

About hemorrhage in ischemic stroke patients

The thrombolytic agent tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is the only therapeutic agent approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of patients with acute ischemic stroke. Its use remains limited to patients who are treated within 4.5 hours of symptom onset. The benefits of tPA thrombolysis are heavily dependent on time to treatment, and use of tPA may be associated with hemorrhage, especially when tPA is administered beyond the therapeutic time window. Hemorrhage is correlated with poor prognosis, and limiting its frequency and severity is expected to provide substantial benefit to all stroke patients.

Shimojani LLC is a San Francisco-based company founded to validate and commercialize agents with the therapeutic potential to reduce or prevent hemorrhagic conversion in ischemic stroke patients.