StemCells entered an agreement with the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) under which CIRM will provide approximately $19.3 million to help fund preclinical development and Investigational New Drug (IND) enabling activities of HuCNS-SC®, the company's product candidate (purified human neural stem cells) for Alzheimer's disease.
The funding will be in the form of a forgivable loan. It was awarded under CIRM's Disease Team Therapy Development Award program (RFA 10-05) in September 2012. The goal of the research will be to file an IND application with the U.S. FDA within four years.
"With CIRM's support, we are now able to lay the groundwork that could result in the world's first neural stem cell trial in Alzheimer's patients," commented Martin McGlynn, president and CEO of StemCells.
StemCells will collaborate with researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). In July 2012, the UCI team presented data at the Alzheimer's Association Annual Meeting demonstrating that the company's neural stem cells restored memory and significantly enhanced synaptic function in two animal models relevant to Alzheimer's disease. According to the firm, these results did not require reduction in beta amyloid or tau that accumulates in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease and account for the pathological hallmarks of the disease.