VM202, a plasmid DNA that expresses two isoforms of hepatocyte growth factor, may elicit angiogenic effects that could benefit patients with critical limb ischemia (CLI). In a phase 2, double-blind trial in 52 CLI patients, we examined the safety and potential efficacy of intramuscular injections of low-dose (n=21) or high-dose (n=20) VM202 or placebo (n=11) in the affected limb (days 0, 14, 28 and 42). Adverse events and serious adverse events were similar among the groups; no malignancy or proliferative retinopathy was seen. In exploratory efficacy analyses, we found no differences in ankle or toe-brachial index, VAS, VascuQuol or amputation rate among the groups. Complete ulcer healing was significantly better in high-dose (8/13 ulcers; P<0.01) versus placebo (1/9) patients. Clinically meaningful reductions (>50%) in ulcer area occurred in high-dose (9/13 ulcers) and low-dose (19/27) groups versus placebo (1/9; P<0.05 and P<0.005, respectively). At 12 months, significant differences were seen in TcPO 2 between the high-dose and placebo groups (47.5±17.8 versus 36.6±24.0 mm Hg, respectively; P<0.05) and in the change from baseline among the groups (P<0.05). These data suggest that VM202 is safe and may provide therapeutic bioactivity in CLI patients.