Cell therapy weekly: Partnership aims to progress degenerative disc disease therapy

This week: A novel stem cell combination may yield a new heart attack therapy, Gamida Cell (MA, USA) and CIBMTR® (WI, USA) collaborate to advance research into blood disorder cell therapies, and McKesson (TX, USA) and TrakCel (Cardiff) join forces to boost patients’ access to advanced therapies.

Sep 12, 2019
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The news highlights:

Partnership aims to progress degenerative disc disease therapy
First-of-its kind heart attack therapy utilizes stem cell combination
Real-world study will advance research into lifesaving blood disorder cell therapies
McKesson and TrakCel join forces to boost patients’ access to advanced therapies

Partnership aims to progress degenerative disc disease therapy

Grünenthal (Aachen, Germany) and Mesoblast (Melbourne, Australia) have jointly announced their partnership aiming to advance the marketing of MPC-06-ID – an allogeneic advanced therapy for the treatment of chronic lower back pain resulting from degenerative disc disease. The efficacy of MPC-06-ID in this patient population is currently being evaluated in a Phase III clinical trial. The collaboration will grant Grünenthal exclusive commercialization rights to MPC-06-ID in Europe and Latin America.

Gabriel Baertschi, CEO of Grünenthal, commented: “Cell-based therapies offer a novel approach in pain management. They can potentially deliver meaningful lasting improvements to patients beyond symptomatic treatment by maintaining or even restoring physiological function. By teaming up with Mesoblast for the next generation of pain therapies for chronic low back pain due to degenerative disc disease we are diligently executing our strategy: leveraging promising new therapeutic modalities and addressing patients with high unmet medical needs.”

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First-of-its kind heart attack therapy utilizes stem cell combination

City University of Hong Kong (China)-led researchers have developed a novel approach to cardiac repair following myocardial infarction. The method employs two distinct stem cell types that work to simultaneously revive damaged cardiac myocytes and blood vessels. In a paper published in Nature Communications, the team detail their successful use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from human bone marrow combined with induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes. Transplanting the MSCs directly on to rats’ damaged heart tissue, whilst injecting the cardiomyocytes into the heart border zone yielded significantly improved heart function and blood vessel formation following myocardial infarction. The team hope the method may pave the way for a novel heart attack therapy.

Ban Ki-won, assistant professor of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at City University, stated: “We believe this novel dual approach can potentially provide translational and clinical benefit to the field of cardiac regeneration. Based on the same principle, the protocol may also be utilized for repairing other organs including the brain, liver and pancreas in which multiple types of stem cells co-exist.”

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Real-world study will advance research into lifesaving blood disorder cell therapies

Gamida Cell (MA, USA) and the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR®; WI, USA) have announced their joint initiation of a multi-year, observational study investigating the health outcomes of patients with hematologic malignancies who receive allogeneic stem cell transplants. The real-world study will leverage CIBMTR’s extensive transplant patient registry to analyze the lasting safety and efficacy of allogeneic bone marrow transplants for patients with hematologic malignancies and, more generally, improve researchers’ understanding of the variables that may influence the health outcomes of patients receiving mismatched donor transplants.

Mary M. Horowitz, chief scientific director of the CIBMTR, stated: “This collaboration will leverage the CIBMTR’s deep experience collecting and analyzing data on both the short- and long‐term outcomes of patients undergoing a bone marrow transplant. We look forward to contributing to efforts to better understand real-world clinical outcomes.”

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McKesson and TrakCel join forces to boost patients’ access to advanced therapies

McKesson Life Sciences (TX, USA) and TrakCel (Cardiff, UK) have announced their collaboration aiming to leverage their supply chain tracking and patient access services to support late-stage developers of cell and gene therapies. The ultimate goal of the partnership is to increase patient access to potentially curative therapies.

Layne Martin, Vice President of Specialty Distribution Solutions at McKesson, commented: “Precision medicine and the delivery of innovative cell and gene therapies require a personalized approach. TrakCel’s robust data tracking and verification capabilities, combined with McKesson’s industry leading third-party logistics, specialty pharmacy solutions and patient support capabilities, are critical to helping manufacturers safely and effectively commercialize innovative new therapies. This integrated system will help prescribers and manufacturers work together seamlessly to ensure that the right patient always receives the correct therapeutic product at the right time.”

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For more weekly cell therapy news, read previous editions of the cell therapy weekly.

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