Healthcare Industry News: Athersys
News Release - May 15, 2006
Athersys Announces Partnership With Angiotech to Commercialize Cell-Based Therapies for Cardiovascular DiseaseCompanies to Jointly Develop Athersys' MultiStem(TM) Cell Therapy Cell Platform for Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease
CLEVELAND, May 15 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Athersys Inc. today announced that the ADDVANCE division of Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ANPI ; TSX: ANP ) has made an investment in the company to support the development of cell-based products for treating cardiovascular disease. The initial work will focus on applying Athersys' proprietary adult-derived stem cell product, MultiStem(TM), to treat patients who suffer a heart attack (myocardial infarction).
"We believe that MultiStem has the potential to significantly enhance the treatment of cardiovascular disease, and, through this partnership with Angiotech, we look forward to exploring a variety of clinical indications in the cardiovascular area, such as peripheral vascular disease and chronic ischemia," said William (B.J.) Lehmann, Executive Vice President, Corporate Development and Finance for Athersys.
As part of the collaboration, the companies will jointly manage development activities, and will share clinical development costs. In addition, upon the achievement of certain development and commercialization milestones, Athersys will be eligible to receive milestone payments, and the companies will share profits on all developed products. After completing pre- clinical studies, it is anticipated that human clinical trials applying MultiStem toward the treatment of myocardial infarction could begin in 2007.
MultiStem is a patented stem cell product that is based on a special class of adult-derived stem cells known as Multi-Potent Adult Progenitor Cells (MAPC). Unlike most other adult stem cell types, which typically have the ability to form only a limited number of cell types or tissues, MAPC have a demonstrated ability to form a broad range of cell types, contributing to a range of tissues. In addition, MAPC may be isolated from the bone marrow and other non-embryonic tissue sources, can be routinely expanded to create large product inventories, and are being developed for off-the-shelf treatment of patients. Athersys is the exclusive owner of and licensee to broad intellectual property rights to the MAPC technology, originally discovered and characterized by Dr. Catherine Verfaillie and colleagues at the University of Minnesota.
About Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death among Americans despite substantial improvements in treatment over the past decades. In the U.S., approximately 1 million people suffer heart attacks each year, often causing substantial impairment and leading to progressive deterioration of heart function, and more than 5 million people suffer from congestive heart failure. In addition, over thirteen million individuals suffer from various forms of coronary heart disease, and tens of millions are affected by vascular conditions and disorders.
Athersys is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of therapeutic product candidates designed to extend and enhance the quality of human life. Through the application of its proprietary technologies, it has established a pipeline of therapeutic product development programs in multiple disease areas scheduled to advance into clinical trials in 2006 and 2007. In addition to cardiovascular disorders, Athersys is developing MultiStem for the treatment of stroke, bone marrow transplantation and oncology support, and believes that it has potential utility in treating a range of other diseases. Athersys' lead product candidate is ATHX-105, a novel pharmaceutical treatment of obesity that is designed to act by regulating appetite. The company is also developing novel pharmaceutical product candidates for the treatment of cognition disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and for the treatment of asthma. Athersys is a founding member of the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, a multi-institutional collaborative initiative established by the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University, the Ohio State University and Athersys focused on accelerating translational research applying advanced stem cell and regenerative medicine technologies.
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