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Regenerative Medicine Weekly Trend Line

Shares of regenerative medicine stem cell companies were AGAIN off due to macro issues and negative market gyrations.

At the end of the week, the NASDAQ was DOWN -41.14 (-1.53%) to 2643.73 (LW: 2732.78). The Dow was also DOWN -172.45 (-1.42) to 11,951.91 (LW: 12,151.26).

US equities closed lower on Friday marking a fairly quiet session and 7 of 8 sessions in the red. Once again, sovereign debt concerns and disappointing non-US economic data the overriding catalysts reinforcing the theme of a slowing global recovery, especially following Thursday’s uncharacteristic and uninspired streak-snapping advance. News flow from the Fed was abundant, although apart from the expansion of capital reviews from to 35 from 19 of the largest banks, the message remained clear and consistent. A notable mid-day catalyst for the banks, after reports that the extra capital charge for big banks likely to be 2-2.5% and not 3%, resulted in deficit-eliminating spike for bank stocks, and sparked a short-lived mini afternoon market wide rally.

My theme of this weeks review is as major indices hit new lows for last week and the Dow dipping below 12,000 for the 1st  time in roughly 3 months … there is little expected on from the universe or economic front to “stem”  the decline in overall risk sentiment. (Last week close, 6/3/11 = LW)

Advancers (3):

  • Athersys (NASDAQ:ATHX) up +$0.10 (+3.76%) to $2.76 (LW $2.78):
  • Neuralstem (AMEX:CUR) up +$0.02 (+1.67%) to $1.22 (LW $1.25); and
  • ThermoGenesis (NASDAQ:KOOL) up +$0.03 (+1.47%) to $2.07 (LW $2.15).    

Decliners (16):   

  • Aastrom (ASTM) down -$0.13 (-4.30%) to $2.89 (LW $3.07);
  • Advanced Cell Technology (OTC: ACTC) down -$0.009 (-4.46%) to $0.193 (LW $0.207);
  • BioMimetic (NASDAQ:BMTI) down -$0.18 (-3.10%) to $5.62 (LW $7.34);
  • BioHeart (OTCPK:BHRT) down -$0.02 (-13.33%) to $0.13 (LW:$0.179);
  • BioTime (AMEX: BTX) down -$0.15 (-3.42%) to $4.23 (LW $4.58);  
  • Cytori (NASDAQ:CYTX) down -$0.06 (-1.19%) to $5.00 (LW $5.18);
  • Geron (NASDAQ:GERN) down -0.24 (-5.58%) to $4.06 (LW $4.27);
  • ImmunoCellar Therapeutics (NYSEMKT:IMUC) down -$0.03 (-1.51%) to $1.96 (LW $2.03);
  • International Stem Cell (ISCOE.OB) down -$0.10 (-10%) to $0.90 (LW $1.08);  
  • NeoStem (AMEX: NBS) down -$0.10 (-6.67%) to $1.40 (LW $1.59);
  • Opexa (OPXA) down -$0.03 (-1.81%) to $1.63 (LW $1.66);
  • Osiris (NASDAQ:OSIR) down -$0.02 (-0.28%) to $7.06 (LW $7.17).
  • Pluristem (NASDAQ:PSTI) down -$0.01 (-0.37%) to $2.69 (LW $2.71);
  • ReNeuron Group (RENE.L) down -$0.15 (-2.97%) to $4.90 (LW $4.86);
  • StemCells (STEM) down -$0.018 (-3.27%) to $0.53 (LW $0.65); and
  • Tengion (TNGN) down -$0.07 (-5.71%) to $1.13 (LW $1.42).

                                                                                                                                        

Flat (1):

  • Brainstorm (NASDAQ:BCLI) flat at $0.27 (LW $0.288);

 

The Bottom Line:  Declining stocks versus advancers (3 versus 16 compared to last week’s 14 to 3 versus the previous weeks 6 to 11) highlights negative indicators. Reiterating, June’s started out a bomb, depreciating our sector. The biggest winners (that is a misnomer) of the regenerative medicine universe close were Athersys (ATHX) up +$0.10 (+3.76%) to $2.76, ThermoGenesis (KOOL) up +$0.03 (+1.47%) to $2.07 followed by Neuralstem (AMEX:CUR) up +$0.02 (+1.67%) to $1.22.

We have all heard the reviews, listened to the reports, so we GET the dilemma… Fear is dominating perception. As the stock market’s slide extended into a 6th straight week, its longest since the financial crisis, one question emerged among investors hoping to begin browsing for bargains: Are we there yet? Our universes appears VERY oversold, to me. Most of the universes stocks have plummeted to extreme lows.

Many consider regenerative medicine stocks … risky assets, so they’ve been driven down 6-8 weeks in a row. Recent soft economic numbers and refusal of stocks to bounce convincingly have reset investor expectations toward tougher markets. In my purview, the universes investor base has shown a disconcerting refusal to panic. It’s tough to quantify, these are not time-tested businesses … their continued existence relies on their cash positions, clinical initiatives and regulatory conditions. However, management integrity and operational skill also key and … there are a few … suspects … out there!

Highlighting the week:

 

Beyond the daily dialogue:

  • Cytori (CYTX) reported 18 month outcomes from its APOLLO trial for Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI). The APOLLO data demonstrate there was a persistent beneficial effect from the cells that we believe if repeated in ADVANCE should translate into superior outcomes for patients.

 

  • Kyoto University professor Shinya Yamanaka, an expert in induced pluripotent stem cells, said 6/ 6/11 that a research paper released last month by a UC, San Diego team contained serious problems in interpretation of data. The paper published online 5/14/11 by the journal Nature, said rejection responses were detected when the group implanted iPS cells into mice. Yamanaka said even though iPS cells were created from the subject’s own cells, they would certainly prompt a rejection response if allowed to grow into a tumor, inevitably triggering a reaction from the subject’s immune system. He also said differences between iPS cells and other cells in the extent to which rejection reactions are induced have no scientific validity.

 

  • ImmunoCellular Therapeutics (NYSEMKT:IMUC) expanded sites for its P2 clinical trial of ICT-107. ICT-107 is the dendritic cell based cancer vaccine candidate targeting multiple tumor antigens for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). IMUC.OB had initially planned to conduct the study, which is now underway, at up to 15 clinical centers, but has increased the number of anticipated sites to 20 or more. IMUC.OB has qualified 21 sites so far and has submitted the trial to 12 prospective sites’ Institutional Review Board (IRB) for approval. Of these 12 sites, 6 have received their IRB approval. The P2 trial of ICT-107 is a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2:1 randomized study designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of ICT-107 in patients with newly diagnosed GBM; The study is enrolling patients at medical institutions in collaboration with leading experts and opinion leaders in neuro-oncology at those sites.

 

  • An agreement between UCLA and Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) will provide stem cell and cancer researchers with leading-edge technologies that will drive research capabilities and further the understanding of complex disease. Under the agreement, Roche will also provide UCLA with advanced reagent, technologies and bioinformatics support to be used in the pursuit of discovering new predictive biomarkers, which will be used as targets for future therapeutics and diagnostics for a host of diseases. The agreement opens the door for UCLA and Roche scientists to work collaboratively with an initial focus on developing even more effective technologies for academic and commercial use. Future developments, based on these technologies, could lead to clinical trials of promising diagnostics and therapeutics.

 

  • BioTime (BTX) reported 5 GMP-Compliant Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines which will outline complete sequencing of DNA shows normality of the cells and their suitability for clinical use.

 

  • Tengion (TNGN) received FDA Orphan-Drug Designation for Neo-Urinary Conduit

 

  • Mesoblast’s (ASX: MSB) shares jumped on positive stem cell trials. ASX: MSB’s shares have shot up after announcing positive clinical trials of its adult stem cell product involving patients with vascular disease. The trial showed that the off-the-shelf adult stem cell product Revascor increased blood supply to damaged heart muscle.

 

The market is down, boom days are over; investors should get used to single digit returns.  But there is not much we can do.  We have heard the steady string of negative reports on the economy; accompanied by depreciating down days in the stock market to touch off … panic but, what alternatives do we have with this volatility?

My treatise … despite all the gyrations, valuations in the RegenMed/StemCell universe is … outright cheap.