New start-up company offers alternative treatment for cardiovascular disease

Angiograft, co-founded by Stelios Andreadis, Sindhu Row (shown above) and Daniel Swartz, is developing a way to make artificial blood vessels for people with heart disease that could help reduce the costs associated with coronary bypass surgery.

By Jane Stoyle Welch

In the United States, 350,000 coronary artery bypass grafting procedures are performed annually, costing $26 billion in health care expenses. Two thirds of the cost comes from secondary contributors, such as extended hospital stays and readmissions resulting from donor site complications.

Angiograft LLC, a new company out of the University at Buffalo’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, seeks to reduce these costs by making bioengineered blood vessels for people with heart disease.

Sindhu Row, who earned her PhD in chemical engineering in February 2016, together with her advisor, Stelios Andreadis, professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Daniel D. Swartz, an expert in blood vessel grafting, surgery and pediatrics, are moving the product forward with clinical trials.

“The product is a self-regenerating blood vessel, available off the shelf, that once implanted, is capable of regenerating with the patients’ own cells making it biologically functional,” said Row.

“The acellular technology employs covalent chemistry to fortify the collagenous grafts with anti-clotting factors as well as growth factors, which attract the patients’ own cells to the

graft site. This enables A-TEV (acellular tissue engineered vessel) to be manufactured within just one day, and be available off the shelf, a tremendous advantage for clinical applications,” she continued.

The company’s A-TEV is designed as a replacement vascular graft, which is often required in coronary artery bypass grafting procedures. These procedures typically use the patient’s own veins; however, people with conditions such as diabetes and hypertension often do not have viable veins and are thus unable to undergo the surgery. The technology could, therefore, offer these patients an alternative through its unique design.

The technology and product are protected under a provisional patent (62/254,347) with intellectual property rights belonging to Angiograft LLC.

The team was recently among 80 semi- finalists in the 2016 OneStart competition, the world’s largest accelerator for startups that seek to improve human health. They were selected from a pool of 750 startups from over 50 countries.

They were also finalists in UB’s Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition and Bright Buffalo Niagara’s Entrepreneur Expo. More recently, Angiograft was named one of 142 semifinalists in 43North, a $5 million startup competition held in Buffalo, New York.