Shares in Osiris Therapeutics (NASDAQ:OSIR) got a lift on November 9 after the biotech company touting its "stem cell drugs" issued a press release reporting positive results from one of its drugs for use in bone marrow transplants.
Over the weekend -- one month later -- the emerging biotech company issued an "update" to coincide with its presentation at the American Society of Hematology. This time, while pointing out a 90% success rate at day 120 for the 31 participants who were evaluated, it also mentioned that there were eight deaths during the first 120 days following treatments; none, the company says, were attributed to its drug.
I'm not going to attempt to get into the science; we know from any number of companies, including Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), Nuvelo (NUVO) and NeoPharm (NEOL), that good results in one trial don't necessarily guarantee equally good results in another. And deaths are a way of life in medical trials. I'm more interested in why the the deaths, even if they weren't caused by the drug, weren't mentioned the first time around. The company didn't respond to my inquiry.
You may recall, I originally mentioned Osiris in October, pointing out that it was bragging that it is the first company to commercially market a stem cell product. Easy to say, of course, when the product, which is used for regenerating bone, didn't require FDA approval.