Cellect soars on Nasdaq after initial trial report

Shai Yarkoni

The company published an unusual announcement of results of treatment of a single patient.

The share price of Cellect Biotechnology Ltd. (APOP), a developer of stem cell selection technology, has shot up after the company made an unusual announcement about results from a single patient treated in a trial that is due to include twelve patients. Reporting of results from a single patient occurs in cases of mercy treatment, but trial results are generally reported in toto. Following the report, Cellect's share price rose 70% on Nasdaq yesterday, giving the company a market cap of $56 million at yesterday's close.

Cellect, which is traded in Tel Aviv and New York, has developed a treatment for blood cancer using stem cell transplants. The company said that a procedure had been successfully performed using its ApoGraft technology in its Phase I/II clinical trial in a blood cancer patient.

According to the company, up to 50% of stem cell transplant procedures, such as bone marrow transplants, result in life-threatening rejection disease, known as Graft-versus-Host-Disease (GvHD), and that its ApoGraft technology is aiming to turn stem cell transplants into a simple, safe and cost effective process, reducing the associated severe side effects, such as rejection and many other risks.

Cellect CEO Dr. Shai Yarkoni said, “After 15 years of research, this is the first time we have used our technology on a cancer patient suffering from life-threatening conditions. It is a first good step on a road that we hope will lead to stem cell based regenerative medicine becoming a safe commodity treatment at every hospital in the world.”

Based on the successful transplantation results, the independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) approved the enrollment of 2 additional patients for ApoGraft treatment to complete the first study cohort as planned.

Cellect's announcement stated only that the transplant had been carried out. It was not reported whether the transplant was successfully accepted, how many days it took until it was accepted (an important datum for understanding whether the product will be competitive), and there has been no monitoring period that would allow testing of whether the transplant causes GvHD, so that the facts as reported by the company cannot be read a "success in a trial", not even on one patient.

Cellect recently announced its intention of delisting from the Tel Aviv Stock exchange. Yarkoni told "Globes" in that context, "We came to the conclusion that we had become an easy target for short players and day traders exploiting the arbitrage. Unfortunately, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange supplies less information about such players than do foreign exchanges, such as in the US and the UK. We know that these players operate locally, and so we believe that ending trading in Tel Aviv will rid us of them. Furthermore, we think that Nasdaq today is able to give a more correct valuation of young biotech companies than Tel Aviv does."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 28, 2017

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017

Shai Yarkoni
Shai Yarkoni
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