Jerusalem-based stem cell therapy start-up Gamida Cell Ltd. has launched a feasibility study to evaluate the preclinical (animal study) safety and efficacy of a gene therapy product which combines technology from Weill Cornell Medical College and Gamida Cell. Gamida Cell believes that the product may have potential to treat congenital anemias such as Cooley’s Anemia.
Gamida Cell is developing a series of technologies to expand, ex vivo, populations of stem/progenitor cells. The company’s lead product, StemEx, based on adult stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood, is used today as an experimental treatment for blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.
StemEx is being developed by a joint venture of Gamida Cell and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq: TEVA; TASE: TEVA). It has been granted orphan drug status in the US and Europe.
Weill Cornell is researching methods to successfully transfer intactglobin genes, which code functional hemoglobin proteins, into hematopoietic (blood) stem cells with the goal of developing a cure for beta-thalassemia, generally known as Cooley’s anemia, and sickle cell anemia, the most common inherited anemias.
Gamida Cell CSO and VP R&D Tony Peled said, "This initiative is of great importance as it could lead to some revolutionary breakthrough science. It also demonstrates yet another example of how Gamida Cell’s proprietary technology can complement other existing technologies to potentially find cures for deadly and chronic diseases."
Gamida Cell's investors include Teva, Elbit Imaging Ltd. (Nasdaq: EMITF; TASE: EMIT), Biomedical Investment, Israel Healthcare Ventures Ltd., Amgen Inc. (Nasdaq: AMGN), Denali Ventures, and Auriga Ventures
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 2, 2009
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