Catalyst - Summer 2009 - Store Adult Stem Cells Today – For Use Tomorrow

Not unlike planning for financial retirement, one can now plan for future health by storing stem cells as personal insurance. Now is the time for collection -- when you're healthy and unlikely to have stem cells already damaged or programmed for disease, according to Robin Smith, M.D., chief executive officer of NeoStem.

NeoStem provides an adult stem cell collection and banking service to the general population. NeoStem's medically proven process is safe and minimally invasive, collecting and banking your cells for your future medical use (autologous). This reduces the risk of complications associated with rejection or transmission of disease from donor cells (allogeneic). The company is developing a network of adult stem cell collection centers.

In fact, NeoStem signed an agreement in April to open a new stem cell collection center at the Giampapa Institute for Anti- Aging Medical Therapy in Montclair, N.J. The agreement adds to NeoStem's national network of metropolitan stem cell collection centers, the most recent of which was opened in New York City.

"There are tremendous clinical and economic advantages to autologous stem cell transplantation (receiving your own stem cells) as there are no issues with immune rejection. Engraftment with your own stem cells is faster, safer and much less costly than receiving someone else's stem cells (allogeneic)," said Dr. Smith.

"Many people diagnosed with a disease requiring a bone marrow transplant are unable to find a healthy match, as the chances of finding a suitable donor can be frighteningly low," she said, noting that adults with a positive family history of cardiac disease, diabetes, cancer, neurologic diseases or autoimmune disorders can take advantage of the opportunity to protect themselves now, while they are healthy.

While there has been much controversy in the world of stem cells in recent years, many people don't realize that there are two primary types of stem cells, embryonic and adult stem cells. The controversy has circled mainly around embryonic stem cells.

"Previously, the media had focused its attention on the controversy of embryonic stem cell research and had overlooked the alternative source for therapeutic stem cells that reside within our own bodies, known as Adult Stem Cells," the CEO said. "As a result, more news about all types of stem cell research and therapies has become almost a daily staple in today's news media."

The adult stem cell is an undifferentiated cell that is found in a differentiated tissue. It has the ability to renew itself and become specialized to yield all the cell types of the tissue from which it originated and in the appropriate environment can also become a specialized cell of a different tissue. Adult stem cells are capable of self-renewal for the lifetime of the organism.

Currently, adult stem cell transplants have been successfully used as standard of care in treating blood cancers, such as leukemia, lymphomas and multiple myelomas. Today, more than 2,313 clinical trials are being conducted in the United States looking at treatments for other diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, vascular disease, autoimmune disorders such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, and many more. In addition, adult stem cells are now being used and evaluated for cosmetic procedures.

Going forward, the company intends to use its recently obtained exclusive worldwide license for stem cell technology and applications to heal chronic wounds. The company believes this innovative wound-healing technology will help advance NeoStem as a leader in the field of stem-cell tissue regeneration. In addition, the technology will support NeoStem's work with the U.S. Department of Defense to evaluate the potential use of adult stem cell therapy for treating wounds suffered by members of the U.S. military and first responders, for which $800,000 has been appropriated in funds for NeoStem.

NeoStem recently completed an $11 million private placement financing to support expansion activities in China. The investing firms are RimAsia Capital Partners, LP, a pan-Asia private equity firm operating in partnership with a regional network of strategic investors drawn from leading Asian families and companies, investing $5 million; Enhance Biomedical Holding Corporation based in Shanghai, also investing $5 million and Elancrest Investments Ltd., a Singapore-based firm, investing $1 million. RimAsia Capital Partners previously invested $1.25 million in NeoStem in Q3 2008.

NeoStem's commercial adult stem cells processing and storage operations will be handled exclusively by Progenitor Cell Therapy, LLC (PCT) (see accompanying article), a leading international provider of cGMP cell therapy manufacturing and storage. In addition, Andrew L. Pecora, M.D., FACP, CPE, who is chairman and CEO of PCT, agreed to join NeoStem's Advisory Board to work more closely with the company for future endeavors overseas.


EisnerAmper's Catalyst: Summer 2009

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