Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Description of Business

Description of Business
12 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2019
Organization, Consolidation and Presentation of Financial Statements [Abstract]  
Description of Business



VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc., a Nevada corporation (which may be referred to as VistaGen, the Company, we, our, or us), is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to developing and commercializing new generation medicines to treat diseases and disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) with high unmet need. Our portfolio of three clinical-stage product candidates is currently focused predominantly on major depressive disorder (MDD) and social anxiety disorder (SAD).


MDD is a serious neurobiologically-based mood disorder, affecting approximately 16 million adults in the United States, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Individuals diagnosed with MDD exhibit depressive symptoms, such as a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, for more than a two-week period, as well as impaired social, occupational, educational or other important functioning which has a negative impact on their quality of life. Globally, MDD affects nearly 300 million people of all ages and is the leading cause of disability worldwide.


SAD affects as many as 15 million Americans and is the third most common psychiatric condition after depression and substance abuse, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.. SAD is characterized by a persistent and unreasonable fear of one or more social or performance situations, where the individual fears that he or she will act in a way or show symptoms that will be embarrassing or humiliating, leading to avoidance of the situations when possible and anxiety or distress when they occur. These fears have a significant impact on the person's employment, social activities and overall quality of life. Only three drugs, all antidepressants, are approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of SAD. However, for treatment of both MDD and SAD, current oral antidepressants (ADs) have slow onset of effect (often several weeks to months) and significant side effects that may make them inadequate treatment alternatives for many individuals affected by MDD and SAD.


Our most advanced product candidate, PH94B neuroactive nasal spray, is fundamentally different from all current treatments for SAD. Developed from proprietary compounds called pherines and administered as a nasal spray, PH94B activates nasal chemosensory receptors that trigger neural circuits in the brain that suppress fear and anxiety. In a published double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 clinical trial, PH94B neuroactive nasal spray was significantly more effective than placebo in reducing public-speaking and social interaction anxiety on laboratory challenges of individuals with SAD. Its novel mechanism of pharmacological action, rapid-onset of therapeutic effects and exceptional safety and tolerability profile in clinical trials to date make PH94B neuroactive nasal spray an excellent product candidate with potential to become the first FDA-approved on-demand, as-needed, or PRN, treatment for SAD.


AV-101 (4-Cl-KYN), one of our two product candidates for MDD, belongs to a new generation of investigational medicines in neuropsychiatry and neurology known as NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) glutamate receptor modulators. The NMDA receptor is a pivotal receptor in the brain and abnormal NMDA function is associated with multiple CNS diseases and disorders, including MDD, chronic neuropathic pain, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease levodopa-induced dyskinesia and many others. AV-101 is an oral prodrug of 7-Cl-KYNA which binds uniquely at the glycine site of the NMDA receptor and has potential to be a new at-home treatment for MDD. AV-101 is currently in Phase 2 development in the U.S. for MDD. ELEVATE is our Phase 2 multicenter, multi-dose, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of AV-101 as an add-on treatment for MDD in adult patients with an inadequate therapeutic response to current FDA-approved ADs (the ELEVATE Study). We currently anticipate top line results from the ELEVATE Study in the second half of 2019. The FDA has granted Fast Track designation for development of AV-101 both as a potential add-on treatment of MDD and as a non-opioid treatment for neuropathic pain.


Our other product candidate for MDD in Phase 2 development for MDD is PH10 neuroactive nasal spray. PH10 is a potential first-in-class, CNS neurosteroid nasal spray administered in microgram doses for MDD. PH10 nasal spray activates nasal chemosensory receptors that, in turn, engage GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone) neurons in the limbic amygdala system. The activation of these neural circuits is believed to have the potential to lead to rapid antidepressant effects without psychological side effects, systemic exposure or safety concerns often associated with current antidepressants. Based on positive results of a small exploratory Phase 2a study in MDD in which rapid-onset antidepressant effects were observed without psychological side effects or systemic exposure, we are preparing for planned Phase 2b clinical development of PH10 as a first-line treatment for MDD.


Additional potential indications for PH94B include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and general anxiety disorder (GAD) and others neuropsychiatric indications. Additional potential indications for AV-101 include as a non-addictive, non-sedating treatment of chronic neuropathic pain (CNP), epilepsy, and to reduce dyskinesia induced by levodopa therapy for Parkinson’s disease (PD LID).


In addition to our CNS business, we have two pipeline-enabling programs through our wholly-owned subsidiary, VistaStem Therapeutics (VistaStem). VistaStem is focused on applying pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) technology to discover, rescue, develop and commercialize proprietary new chemical entities (NCEs) for CNS and other diseases and regenerative medicine (RM) involving hPSC-derived blood, cartilage, heart and liver cells.


Our internal drug rescue programs are designed to utilize CardioSafe 3D, our customized cardiac bioassay system, to discover and develop small molecule NCEs for our CNS pipeline or for out-licensing. To advance potential RM applications of our cardiac stem cell technology, we have sublicensed to BlueRock Therapeutics LP, a next generation cell therapy and RM company established by Bayer AG and Versant Ventures (BlueRock Therapeutics), rights to certain proprietary technologies relating to the production of cardiac stem cells for the treatment of heart disease (the BlueRock Agreement). In a manner similar to the BlueRock Agreement, we may pursue additional collaborations or licensing transactions involving blood, cartilage, and/or liver cells derived from hPSCs for cell-based therapy, cell repair therapy, RM and/or tissue engineering.




As noted above, VistaStem is our wholly-owned subsidiary. Our Consolidated Financial Statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K (Report) also include the accounts of VistaStem’s two wholly-owned inactive subsidiaries, Artemis Neuroscience, Inc., a Maryland corporation, and VistaStem Canada, Inc., a corporation organized under the laws of Ontario, Canada.