Monday, November 06, 2006

Stem Cell Sciences' NS Cells to begin Preclinical Trials for Spinal Cord Injury

Stem Cell Sciences, a global biotechnology company focused on the commercialization 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 pre-clinical testing for spinal cord injury in a groundbreaking collaboration with the world-renowned Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at the National University of Ireland, Galway ('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 pre-clinical 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.'