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GEN News Highlights : Aug 4, 2009

Grant to Pluristem Increased by $0.4M to Advance Cell Therapy for Critical Limb Ischemia

The $2.3 million from the Israeli government will aid Phase I studies of this placental-derived adherent stromal cell product.

The Israeli government’s Office of the Chief Scientist has increased a grant awarded in June to local company Pluristem from $1.9 million to $2.3 million. The funds will be used primarily to support clinical trials of Pluristem’s allogeneic placental-derived adherent stromal cell product, PLX-PAD, for the treatment of critical limb ischemia. A Phase I trial was initiated in July.

Pluristem is focused on developing allogeneic cell therapy products for severe degenerative, ischemic, and autoimmune disorders. It uses human placenta as a source of nonembryonic, adult stem cells. The technology involves expanding placental adherent stromal cells in the company's PluriXTM 3-D bioreactor system.

Pluristem says that this bioreactor provides a 3-D microenvironment that enables large-scale growth of cells without the need for supplemental growth factors or other exogenous materials. Resulting placental expanded cell products are designed to be off-the-shelf, ready-to-use, and require no histocompatibility matching, the firm explains. In February Pluristem’s European facilities were cleared for cGMP manufacturing of its cell therapy products.