Stem cell production deal boosts Brainstorm's share

The move brings Brainstorm a step closer to a clinical trial for its ALS product.

Despite falling 30% on Thursday and Friday, Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics Ltd. (Bulletin Board:BCLI.OB), a developer of adult stem cell technologies and therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases, still saw its share rise 60% over last week after reporting a production deal. The share closed at $0.24 on Friday, giving a market cap of $14.35 million.

Brainstorm said that it had agreed to start production with Protein Production Services Ltd. (PPS), a manufacturing contractor. The clinical-grade product will be used in a pre-clinical safety trial for the company’s innovative therapy for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

With locations in Petah Tikva and New York, Brainstorm's patent pending technology is based on discoveries made by the scientific team led by Prof. Eldad Melamed, former Head of Neurology at Rabin Medical Center, and cell biologist Dr. Daniel Offen, Head of the Neuroscience Laboratory at the Felsenstein Medical Research Center of Tel Aviv University.

Brainstorm's share has risen nearly 250% since August 24 when it reported that it had secured funding to reach clinical trials for the company's ALS therapy product. This funding comprised a NIS 1.7 million grant from the Chief Scientist and $1 million from previous investors. The phase I clinical trial is scheduled to take place in 2010.

Brainstorm CEO Rami Efrati said, “We are very excited that we are moving into this phase of product development with a highly-experienced contractor that will enable us to move rapidly ahead with the final stages of our ALS pre-clinical program."

Brainstorm originally set out to develop a product to treat Parkinson's disease. However, due to the intense competition and long-time to market, the company switched to its current product. The significance of developing a product to treat ALS is a faster track to regulatory approval and a potential monopoly in the market.

The company said it has successfully met the biggest challenge in developing its product - converting stem cells into bone cells. Trials on laboratory mice have yielded mixed results regarding the effectiveness of the product, and consequently the company will conduct additional trials on animals. Only if those results are positive then human trials could begin next year.

Efrati said, "Brainstorm now has both the financing and the production capabilities to achieve our goal of reaching human clinical studies in the coming year."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on September 6, 2009

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2009

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