Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Brainstorm and Octane announce partnership for stem cell reactor

BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics (BCLI) announced today that a contract has been signed with Octane Biotech , located in Ontario, for developing a proprietary bioreactor for the production of stem cells. The bioreactor will be used for the production of BCLI's "Nurown stem cells". The joint project is also supported by a fund recently awarded by the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF) and has been approved for a period of three years.

BrainStorm is a biotechnology company developing innovative, autologous stem cell therapies for various neurodegenerative diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Their proprietary Nurown stem cell process used bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to create highly specialized, neuron-supporting cells. These highly specialized cells (called “MSC-NTF”) secrete neurotrophic, or nerve-growth, factors that protect and promote neuron growth.

Image of a MSC-NTF cell, property of BCLI

According to BCLI officials, their mutual agreement with Octane aims to create a bioreactor that will be viable, safe and reliable for the NurOwn stem cell process. Dr. Adrian Harel said regarding the matter

“Octane is the ideal partner for us, since they have a particular expertise in developing automated production processes for mesenchymal cell therapy technologies,” and added “We are anxious to move ahead with this project, in order to be in a position to provide NurOwn as quickly as possible, and to as many patients as possible, in the near future.”

Dr. Tim Smith , CEO of Octane Biotech, believes that their upcoming partnership will help Octane move one step closer to conducting more stem cell clinical trials.

“The opportunity to work with BrainStorm on scaling-up the NurOwn production process is a particularly meaningful one, given the urgency of its target population. We are confident that our combined knowledge base and commitment to the project will help advance their product significantly closer to clinical use.”

BCLI's stem cells are currently used is a Phase I/II clinical trial on patients with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. The company plans to expand its clinical trial in the USA. However it still awaits approval from the Food and Drug administration.

Video of a patient with ALS and MG after receiving Nurown stem cell treatment. It seems that the patient's health has greatly improved

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