Stem Cell Sciences' NS Cells to begin Preclinical Trials for Spinal Cord Injury
Thursday, 2 November 2006
Stem Cell Sciences plc (AIM:STEM), the global biotechnology company focused on the commercialisation of stem cells and stem cell technologies in research and novel cell-based therapies, is pleased to announce that the Group s Neural Stem Cells (NS cells) will enter preclinical testing for spinal cord injury in a groundbreaking collaboration with the world-renowned Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway.
The initial study will examine the ability of the NS cells to provide functional improvements in models of spinal cord injury at REMEDI.
Spinal cord injury affects more than 25 million people worldwide, with 130,000 new cases reported each year. It represents a considerable social and economic cost to both families and countries.
"It's a really exciting opportunity for us to test our NS cells in preclinical models of spinal cord injury", said SCS's Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Tim Allsopp. "We will examine how the cells remain viable, engraft and support natural repair processes. We are really pleased to be collaborating with NUI Galway's Regenerative Medicine Institute".
Stem Cell Sciences' NS cells are unique in that they can be grown in serum-free and feeder-free cell culture conditions. Potentially, this makes them very effective when used in a variety of cell-based therapeutics.
Professor Frank Barry, REMEDI's Scientific Director and a world-leading scientist in stem cell therapy, said: "For REMEDI to be able to evaluate a 'best in class' neural stem cell in conjunction with a world-leading company is a great opportunity for us, and underscores the efforts we are making in Ireland in finding novel therapeutic solutions for currently incurable conditions."
Initial study results are expected in the first quarter of 2007. If this study proves successful, Stem Cell Sciences and REMEDI plan to expand the collaboration with more extensive testing.
"It would be a great step forward if we demonstrate efficacy for our NS cells in this model" said Dr Peter Mountford, Chief Executive Officer of SCS. "With our capabilities in novel cell culture media development and stem cell uses in drug discovery, our next step was always to move into pre-clinical trials of illness and disease, using the NS cells."
Dr Daniel O'Mahony, Director of Technology Transfer at NUI Galway said, "We are bringing together two technology leaders in their respective fields in the development of new treatments for spinal cord injury. This collaboration between REMEDI and SCS reinforces our commitment to industrial collaborations and to progressing technologies from the laboratory to the market place."
For further information, please contact:
Stem Cell Sciences plc 01316629829 Hugh Ilyine, Chief Operating Officer Sue Furber, Director of Finance & Company Secretary
Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) +353 091 495198 Ita Murphy MSc, Communications and Outreach Manager
Weber Shandwick|Square Mile 020 7067 0700 James White
Notes to Editors
Stem Cell Sciences plc (SCS, AIM: STEM) is a global biotechnology company, established in Melbourne, Australia in 1994, providing products in the burgeoning stem cell research and drug discovery markets, in addition to the targeted development of cell-based therapies for neurodegenerative disease and injury.
The Company has established a leading intellectual property (IP) and technology portfolio that enables the commercial application of stem cells in drug discovery, providing the Company with early-stage revenue streams and technology development for at scale cell production of SCS cell-based therapeutics.
SCS principal focus is in neurological disease. Revenues in the neurotech market, including pharmaceuticals, devices and diagnostics, grew 10% in 2005 to US$110 billion*.
SCS operates as a group of independent operations with laboratories in Scotland, Japan and Australia, each of which is affiliated with an academic centre of excellence. These include the Institute of Stem Cell Research (ISCR), Edinburgh, UK, RIKEN Centre for Development Biology, Kobe, Japan and the Australian Stem Cell Centre, Melbourne, Australia.
SCS has four business units focused on key sustainable business strategies.
SC Proven® provides cell culture media (liquid formulations) and reagents that enable the growth and differentiation of stem cells. The first commercially available product, a novel, serum free, stem cell growth medium, has been exclusively licensed for manufacture and marketing to Chemicon, part of Millipore Corporation.
SC Licensing licenses SCS proprietary technologies, such as Internal Ribosome Entry Site (IRES) and Stem Cell Selection, for application in laboratory-based research and discovery. SCS has licensed technology to major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies including Pfizer, Sanofi Aventis, GSK, Deltagen Inc and Lexicon Genetics Inc.
SC Services provides specialised stem cell production for basic research and drug discovery, including high-throughput applications.
SC Therapies' goal is to develop safe and effective cell-based therapies for currently incurable diseases. SCS is conducting preclinical evaluations of its neural stem cell lines in a number of therapeutic applications. The first preclinical programme is being undertaken by SCS' Japanese affiliate, which recently announced the exclusive licensing of human multi-potent adipose-derived stem (hMADS) cells for therapeutic purposes. SCS KK will conduct preclinical studies for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in 2006.
For further information on the company please visit www.stemcellsciences.com