NeoStem and Regenerative Sciences
11:58 am by Jason Chew
NeoStem has expanded its stem cell operations through the acquisition of a 51% stake in Suzhou Erye
NeoStem first commenced trading on the American Stock Exchange in 2007, focusing on stem cell collection and storage. It quickly expanded from there by licensing additional stem cell based technologies, adding therapeutics to its offerings. By far the most transformative event has been the company’s recent acquisition of a Chinese pharmaceuticals manufacturer. This has not only provided the company with its first source of any significant revenue but also a springboard for launching new therapies.
NeoStem deals only with adult derived stem cells, thereby evading the ethical issues associated with embryonic stem cells. It’s business can be thought of as consisting of three segments:
1. Stem cell collection and storage for newborn and adults
2. Revenue generating stem cell therapeutics in Asia
3. Therapeutic development of cell therapies including VSEL technology
4. Chinese generic pharmaceutical manufacturing
Stem cell collection is a service marketed to individuals as a way to preserve healthy stem cells in the event future medical issues arise requiring stem cell transplants. Such problems may include leukemias and lymphomas, and possibly radiation exposure. There are 3500 stem cell therapy clinical trials evaluating the use of these cells to regenerate tissue. Eventually, stem cells are likely to find usage in a variety of other diseases like heart disease, Ms, Lupus, diabetes, wound care and cartilage repair for knees and hips making the storage of one’s own cells more desirable but it is still early.
NeoStem therefore shifted its emphasis on driving the development of therapeutics. The company began this effort by licensing a mature stem cell technology portfolio in 2009 with an exclusive license to the use of a patient’s own adult stem cells to treat a variety of musculoskeletal diseases in the Asian market. Regenerative Sciences uses autologous mesenchymal stem cells extracted from bone marrow for the treatment of various orthopedic conditions, including osteoarthritis. This procedure will be augmented with its own peripheral blood stem cell collection process to enhance its marketability- a wise move considering the pain of typical bone marrow extraction.
It has begun marketing adult stem cell treatments for orthopedic indications with orthopedics specialist, Shijiazhuang Third Hospital of Hebei Province. According to the company, patient charges will be comparable to those in the US. This is possible because the government is providing 80% reimbursement for the procedure.