Healthcare Industry News: neurodegenerative
News Release - January 24, 2011
BrainStorm Appoints Dr. Adrian Harel as Chief Operating Officer and Acting Chief Executive OfficerNEW YORK & PETACH TIKVAH, Israel--(Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network)-- BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc. (OTCBB:BCLI.ob ), a leading developer of adult stem cell technologies and therapeutics, today announced the recruitment of a highly experienced drug developer, Adrian Harel, Ph.D., as its Chief Operating Officer and Acting Chief Executive Officer.
“The recruitment of Dr. Harel represents another major advance for BrainStorm, which is now poised to enter clinical trials with its specific differentiated stem cells derived from a patient’s own bone marrow that could represent a new treatment paradigm for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurological disorders,” said Prof. Avi Israeli, Chairman of the Board of Directors of BrainStorm. “Adrian brings a remarkable record of professional achievement and experience in drug development and manufacturing in addition to building and managing highly successful biotechnology companies.”
BrainStorm is the first company to receive clearance from the Israeli Ministry of Health (MOH) for a differentiated stem cell-based therapy. The Phase I/II clinical trial using the company’s autologous NurOwn™ stem cell therapy in patients with ALS, often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, will be conducted in cooperation with the world-renowned Hadassah Medical Center. The initial phase of the study is designed to establish the safety of NurOwn™ and will later be expanded to assess efficacy. The trial is expected to begin following validation of sterility tests requested by the MOH and screening of patients for the trial.
On joining BrainStorm, Dr. Harel commented, “It is rare to find an opportunity such as BrainStorm, which has an extremely promising clinical program that is supported by strong preclinical data, a seasoned and committed scientific and development team, and involvement from leading industry consultants. The clinical application of the company’s NurOwn™ stem cell therapy offers the potential to transform the treatment of neurological disorders with a new class of effective and well tolerated agents.”
Dr. Adrian Harel combines a broad scientific education with extensive regulatory, clinical, and manufacturing experience. He holds a Ph.D. in Neurobiology, from the Weizmann Institute of Science, and was a postdoctoral at Washington University. Dr. Harel has been involved with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry for many years, most recently as the founder of Da-Ta Biotech Ltd. and chief executive officer of both Meditor Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and Aminolab Technologies 2000 Ltd. Previously, Dr. Harel served as chief operating officer of Sepal Pharma Ltd. and Molecular Cytomics Ltd. He also held senior management positions at Proneuron Biotechnologies (Israel) Ltd., Jerusalem Biotechnology Center (JBC), Heal-Or Ltd., and Molecular Cytomics Ltd.
About Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. According to the ALS Association, approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year and it is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time. The financial cost to families of patients is exceedingly high, and it is estimated that in the advanced stage, care can cost an average of $200,000 per year, which represents more than a $6 billion cost to the healthcare system.
BrainStorm’s core technology, NurOwn™, is based on the scientific achievements of Professor Eldad Melamed, former Head of Neurology, Rabin Medical Center, and Tel-Aviv University, and a member of the Scientific Committee of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, and Professor Daniel Offen, Head of the Neuroscience Laboratory, Felsenstein Medical Research Center (FMRC) at the Tel-Aviv University.
The NurOwn™ technology processes adult human mesenchymal stem cells that are present in bone marrow and are capable of self-renewal as well as differentiation into many other cell types. The research team is among the first to have successfully achieved the in vitro differentiation of adult bone marrow cells (animal and human) into astrocyte-like cells capable of releasing neurotrophic factors, including glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). The ability to induce differentiation into astrocyte-like cells along with intramuscular or intrathecal (or other) delivery makes NurOwn™ technology highly attractive for treating ALS and Parkinson’s disease as well as MS and spinal cord injury.
BrainStorm’s stem cell therapy contains human mesenchymal stromal cells induced to differentiate into astrocyte-like cells secreting neurotrophic factors by means of a specific differentiation-inducing culture medium.
About BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics, Inc.
BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc. is an emerging company developing adult stem cell therapeutic products, derived from autologous (self) bone marrow cells, for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. The Company holds rights to develop and commercialize the technology through an exclusive, worldwide licensing agreement with Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd., the technology transfer company of Tel-Aviv University. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.brainstorm-cell.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
Statements in this announcement other than historical data and information constitute "forward-looking statements" and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc.'s actual results to differ materially from those stated or implied by such forward-looking statements. The potential risks and uncertainties include risks associated with BrainStorm's limited operating history, history of losses; minimal working capital, dependence on its license to Ramot's technology; ability to adequately protect the technology; dependence on key executives and on its scientific consultants; ability to obtain required regulatory approvals; and other factors detailed in BrainStorm's annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q available at http://www.sec.gov. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements made by us.
Source: BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics
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