San Diego-based Ventrix has reported pre-clinical study results of its biomaterial scaffold for the repair of damaged myocardium.

Using a catheter, the VentriGel scaffold is injected in a minimally-invasive procedure to prevent the development of congestive heart failure in patients who are recovering from heart attack.

The study, which injected the VentriGel scaffold into pigs two weeks following heart attack, has demonstrated that three months after injection, more cardiac muscle and less scar tissue was found in the VentriGel-treated group compared to controls that did not receive VentriGel.

"Using a catheter, the VentriGel scaffold is injected in a minimally-invasive procedure to prevent the development of congestive heart failure in patients who are recovering from heart attack."

Ejection fraction, one measure of cardiac function, was also greater after the delivery of VentriGel, compared to controls (74% versus 43%, p < 0.01).

The global wall motion index, a measure of regional cardiac function, was significantly reduced (p < 0.05) by 21% compared to controls, indicating an improvement in the contractility of the heart, according to the company.

University of California medicine professor and American College of Cardiology former president Dr Anthony Demaria said after a myocardial infarction, patients who develop left ventricular dysfunction are at high risk for having another heart attack, and ultimately developing heart failure.

"These encouraging results suggest great therapeutic potential for VentriGel," Demaria said.

Ventrix CEO Adam Kinsey said; "We will continue to develop VentriGel for this indication, for which there is a very acute need and large market potential."

Based on the preclinical results, which are published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the company is planning to initiate a first-in-man clinical trial for VentriGel later in 2013.