Three scientists at the Bar Harbor-based MDI Biological Laboratory have been awarded a patent — the first for the lab — for MSI-1436, a potential new heart disease drug that stimulates the repair and regeneration of heart tissue damaged by injuries like a heart attack.
“The importance of this achievement cannot be overstated,” Kevin Strange, president of the MDI Biological Laboratory, said in a statement. “This patent is a critical step forward in our ability to develop new treatments for those who suffer from heart disease, as well as a validation of the effectiveness of MDI Biological Laboratory’s and Novo Biosciences’ approach to drug discovery and development.” Novo was the first spinoff from MDI Bio Lab in 2013.
The patent for MSI-1436 was awarded to Strange, fellow MDI Biological scientist Voot Yin and their collaborator Michael Zasloff. Both Strange and Yin were Mainebiz 2013 Next award winners.
According to the lab, MSI-1436 can potentially be used to stimulate the formation of new heart muscle after an acute heart attack. Because humans have a limited capacity for heart tissue regeneration, damaged heart muscle is normally replaced with a nonfunctional scar. This scar tissue interferes with the function of the heart and can lead to severe disability and ultimately heart failure.
MDI Bio Lab said the potential global market for MSI-1436 is enormous. Heart disease is the leading cause of sickness and death worldwide, accounting for approximately 17 million deaths per year. Of these deaths, about 7.4 million are due to coronary heart disease, the most common form of the disease. About 720,000 people experience a heart attack annually in the United States, which means that hundreds of thousands of people each year could benefit from a therapy to repair and regenerate damaged heart muscle.