The stroma comprises cells such as fibroblasts and endothelial cells that build the infrastructure of an organ, ensuring its form, nutrient and oxygen supply. Stromal cells produce tissue cytokines that steer the function of immune cells at sites of inflammation, identifying them as drugable targets to resolve inflammation in chronic diseases. Stromal Therapeutics’ lead compound targets a tissue cytokine pathway that is involved in cardiac inflammation and fibrosis.
Acute and chronic myocardial inflammation is one of the leading causes of myocardial damage in patients with suspected myocardial infarction with non-obstructive coronary arteries. Patients suffering from acute or chronic myocarditis may present to the clinic with acute heart failure, infarct-like symptoms and/or arrhythmic events. However, there is no specific treatment available for myocarditis or inflammatory cardiomyopathy.
Professor Burkhard Ludewig, one of the academic founders and current president of the board, has received a number of prestigious research grants including the European Research Council Advanced Grant 2020, to study the molecular and cellular basis of inflammatory myocardial disease. The world-leading academic expertise of the founders positions Stromal Therapeutics at the forefront of stromal cell-specific drug development with the initial focus area of cardiac inflammatory diseases. Clinical translation of Stromal Therapeutics' lead compound will be steered by the Translational Cardiology Unit at the University Heart Center, University Hospital Zurich, headed by Professor Ludewig.