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  • NeoStem Inc. (AMEX: NBS) $119M (MarketCap) CEO Robin Smith Explains to WMM Adult Stem Cell Research 0 comments
    Jun 2, 2010 3:05 PM | about stocks: NBS

    NeoStem engages in the development of adult stem-cell based therapies for anti-aging and is building a network of collection and research and development centers in the United States and China. We sat down with Dr. Smith to discuss some interesting and recent developments and milestones the company has reached and the future of regenerative medicine, the burgeoning new science that stem cell research is at the center of. Since the inception of regenerative medicine and the first discoveries that accompanied it, most people find the practice confusing and unethical. But stem cell research has been around for forty years; the recent breakthroughs are that scientists are now realizing stem cells have regenerative properties. Essentially, stem cells have the ability to differentiate and morph themselves to become different cells and sort of “start over”, becoming new and healthy cells within a variety of different anatomical components like bone, muscle, or cartilage. For this incredible capability, researchers and companies believe regenerative medicine can treat a large variety of diseases that include Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.

    Need a quick but deeper lesson? There are a few different types of stem cells; two of the most and least controversial include the embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. While embryonic stem cells have superior potential for their ability to morph into a greater variety of different types of cells, fetal stem cell research and development is impossibly controversial and considered highly unethical. Ault stem cells, on the other hand, are generated once a baby is born from fat, teeth, or skin, eliminating the need to destroy a fetus. For example, adult stem cells can be taken from the fat of a liposuction patient and undergo transformation in labs and collection centers across the world, regenerating and repairing itself into new and healthy cells than can be injected into an ailing patient. This important distinction is a cause for much confusion among most people as Dr. Smith has pointed out to us.

    The potential applications for adult stem cells are vast and exciting, and NeoStem is on the forefront of new developments and implementation. It provides adult stem cell collection, processing, and storage services enabling healthy individuals to donate and store their stem cells for personal therapeutic use. The company also focuses on developing a pipeline of regenerative medicine therapies focused on orthopedic conditions; developing wellness, cosmetic, and anti-aging applications; and participating in the medical tourism market for regenerative medical treatments. In addition, it offers anti-infective drugs that include active pharmaceutical ingredients (NYSEMKT:API) and injectible finished products under a few different names while selling prescriptive drugs and APIs through hospitals in China. The parent company operates six entities focused on this collection, storage, and product pipeline development in the U.S. and China, exposing the company to regulatory uncertainties and steep, experienced competitors that include the Chinese government. NeoStem has stayed busy this year traveling and presenting at conferences for medical professionals and investors; applying for and receiving federal research grant money, one of which totaled $108,746, granted by the NIH under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, less popularly known as the economic stimulus package for bone defect and repair research; and creating and signing collaborative agreements and licenses with several worldwide institutions, companies, organizations, and universities. The most lucrative and promising agreement that has been signed is between NeoStem and the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture, under which the Catholic Church charitable organization will partner with the company to support research and raise awareness for adult stem cell therapy. The Church has committed $1M over 5 years to the effort. “This is an exclusive relationship and an exciting milestone for our company” said Dr. Smith, who went on to note the Vatican has no other agreement or endorsement of any kind with any company that competes in the same sector as NeoStem.

    While exclusive rights to VSEL Technology, the patented technology that allows for collection of adult stem cells, this is an exciting time for NeoStem. “Because there is no genetic alteration using VSEL Technology, the time from the lab to the clinic will be much shorter” said Dr. Robin on what it’s going to bring the company’s services to mass markets. “The collaboration of the technologies, the financial commitment from the Vatican, and the ability to get resources to further develop the VSEL Technology and other adult stem cell therapies should really put us on the map”.

    The company already generates revenue and is grossly profitable after a number of pharmaceutical acquisitions from 2009, creating a healthy balance sheet and strong fundamentals that separates NeoStem from other early-stage biopharm companies. The Chinese market is of particular focus, says Dr. Smith since the country is currently going through its own version of healthcare overhaul legislation and has committed $124B to drug research, creating a crystal clear trajectory of growth for NeoStem.

     



    Disclosure: no positions
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