News | January 10, 2001

Endovasc develops slow release nicotine liposome for angiogenesis

Growing new blood vessels around blocked arteries

Endovasc Ltd. Inc. (Montgomery, TX) and development partner Hermes BioSciences (South San Francisco, CA) have produced a timed release, nicotine-encapsulating liposome that may eventually help patients with coronary artery disease. According to Endovasc, low-dose nicotine stimulates the growth of new blood vessels, essentially creating a "biological bypass" around blocked arteries and blood vessels.

Developed during the past year for treating blood- and oxygen-starved ischemic tissues, this liposome provides a 3- to 4-day release of controlled levels of nicotine needed to initiate the new vessel growth cascade that stimulates the body's natural ability to grow or re-grow new vessels.

Chairman of Endovasc Ltd. Inc., David Summers, said, "We are very pleased with the results of our year-long collaboration with Hermes BioSciences Inc. They performed a thorough analysis of our needs and built an array of liposomes for our selection of the best liposome for our nicotine molecule, achieving the release characteristics we needed."

Atherosclerosis—hardening of the arteries—affects between 200 and 300 million individuals worldwide, with undiagnosed cases perhaps doubling or tripling that number. Treatments include angioplasty, stent implants, and open-heart arterial bypass surgery. To date no pharmaceutical by itself has demonstrated effectiveness in treating the disorder.

Endovasc has shown, in mouse and rabbit models, that nicotine stimulates the growth of new blood vessels around blockages. New data on the results from the rabbit model will be presented at the AHA Scientific Conference on Therapeutic Angiogenesis and Myocardial Laser Revascularization in Sante Fe, New Mexico, January 24 through 27. Phase II human clinical trials are set to commence March-April in Italy.

Endovasc specializes in liposomal delivery of pharmaceuticals for cardiovascular and oncology markets. Its proprietary liposomal encapsulation technology is available for license.

For more information, contact Barbara Richardson of Endovasc Ltd., at 936-448-2222 or

With contributions by Angelo DePalma
Managing Editor, Drug Discovery Online and Pharmaceutical Online