Combined firm will exploit new type of mammalian cell that prompts regeneration.

Cell therapy company Pathfinder and biomaterials specialist SyntheMed will merge to form Pathfinder Cell Therapy. The new entity will focus on the use of the Pathfinder Cells platform to develop regenerative therapies for diabetes, renal disease, myocardial infarction, and other diseases characterized by organ-specific cell damage. Pathfinder cells are a newly discovered mammalian cell type capable of stimulating damaged tissues to regenerate without themselves being incorporated into the new tissue, the firm claims.

The deal will involve the merger of Pathfinder into a wholly owned subsidiary of SyntheMed. Although financial details have not been disclosed, SyntheMed will issue shares of its common stock to Pathfinder shareholders, such that Pathfinder will own about 80% of the combined company, and SyntheMed shareholders will hold the remaining 20%. Pathfinder’s two founders, Richard L. Franklin, M.D., and Joerg Gruber, will act as CEO/president, and chairman, respectively.

“The merged company will be entirely dedicated to the development of a regenerative medicine pipeline based on Pathfinder’s novel cell therapy to address large and underserved market opportunities,” Dr. Franklin states. “Our strategy does not presently include further development or investment in the current SyntheMed assets, but we would welcome inquiries from third parties that are potentially interested in acquiring them or partnering them.”

Pathfinder Cells can be found at low levels in a range of different tissue types, including kidney, liver, pancreas, lymph nodes, myometrium, bone marrow, and blood, Pathfinder claims. The cells are immune privileged, so they can be used across species or between immunologically different individuals, and dependent on their tissue of origin, can stimulate the regeneration of a number of organs.

The firm says intravenously administered Pathfinder Cells isolated from rat and human pancreas and from human kidney have been shown to completely reverse chemically induced diabetes in a mouse model. In addition, rat pancreas-derived PCs have been effective in animal models of renal reperfusion injury and myocardial infarction.

SyntheMed has been developing a bioresorbable polymer technology, which it believes has applications ranging from the prevention or reduction of post-operative adhesions, to the production of resorbable sutures, stents, drug delivery systems, and coatings for implantable devices.

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