Teva to invest in stem cell start-up Cell Cure

The Hadasit Bio portfolio company previously received funding from the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) will invest $1 million in Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd. at a company value of $13 million before money. The company is developing cell therapy cures for neural degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and multiple sclerosis, based on a platform of neural cells derived from human embryonic stem cells.

Teva’s investment is subject to Cell Cure raising $2 million as part of a $3 million financing round by March 21, 2008. The company has raised $1.8 million to date, including from the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Cell Cure is a portfolio company of Hadasit Bio Holdings Ltd. (TASE:HDST), and its controlling shareholder is ES Cell International pty Ltd. of Singapore. Hadasit Bio CEO Ophir Shahaf said that Cell Cure expected to raise the outstanding amount of the financing round in October, at which point Teva will make its investment.

Cell Cure is conducting animal trials for its treatment for Parkinson’s disease. The treatment uses stem cells to secrete dopamine, which is lacking in Parkinson’s patients. Tests on rats have already demonstrated partial functional recovery of Parkinsonian rats following the transplantation of non-committed human embryonic stem cell-derived neural precursors.

Shahaf said, “We’re now in talks with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the conditions to begin Phase I human clinical trials in 2009. This is a new field, and the FDA is studying it, so talks are only at the preliminary stage.

“The investment agreement with Teva comes a week after Hadasit Bio invested in Thrombotech Ltd. These investments are intended to provide financial support ahead of clinical trials, which will better position the companies for when they contact large pharmaceutical companies.”

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on September 2, 2007

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2007

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