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GEN News Highlights : Oct 21, 2009

Cellerix to Test Gamida’s Expansion Technologies with Its Stem Cell-Based Drugs

Companies will investigate ex vivo expanded populations of adipose-derived adult stem cells.

Gamida Cell and Cellerix have agreed to evaluate the potential of combining the former’s stem cell expansion technologies with the latter’s cell-based therapeutics. Gamida Cell is developing a series of technologies to expand, ex vivo, populations of stem/progenitor cells that display increased in vivo homing and engraftment activities.

Cellerix is working on cell-based medicines using expanded adult stem cells (eASCs) obtained from adipose tissue. eASCs can activate physiological repair mechanisms through interaction with affected tissue.

“Gamida Cell's technologies have been demonstrated to improve in vivo functionality of ex vivo expanded hematopoietic stem cells,” says Yael Margolin, Ph.D., president and CEO of Gamida Cell. “This collaboration seeks to evaluate the feasibility of improving clinical efficacy of ex vivo expanded adult stem cells obtained from adipose tissue by means of increasing homing and retention following infusion.

“The results of this study,” Dr. Margolin continues, “could lead to an entirely new understanding of the widespread application of our various technologies and expand the number of possibilities for Gamida Cell in terms of product development and partnerships.”

For Cellerix, the feasibility study being conducted by the companies could enhance its existing pipeline as well as create a new line of cell therapeutics. The firm has three products undergoing clinical trials: Ontaril for the treatment of complex perianal fistulas is in Phase III, Cx501 is a cell therapy product for treating epidermolysis bullosa in Phase II, and Cx601, which consists of a formulation based on donor cells for treating complex perianal fistulas in Crohn's disease patients, is in Phase II.

Gamida Cell reports that it has been successful in translating its expansion technologies into robust and validated manufacturing processes under GMP. The company has its own pipeline of therapeutic candidates, which contain populations of adult stem cells selected from noncontroversial sources such as umbilical cord blood and bone marrow and then expanded in culture.

Its lead product, StemEx®, comprises expanded populations of adult stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood. It is currently in Phase III trials as a treatment for leukemia and lymphoma. Gamida Cell’s stem cell transplantation and tissue regeneration products are being designed to treat illnesses such as cancer as well as hematological and autoimmune diseases.