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The RegMed Daily Dialogue, 6/15/11, fear is a real factor

The 6 W’s: Who, what, where, when, why and what of it…

 Regenerative medicine/stem cell universe is reacting as volatility rules the day’s trading … on Wednesday (6/15/11).  

 The NASDAQ is Down -45.30 (-1.69%) to 2,633.42 and dropping. The Dow is also DOWN -188.45 (-1.55%) to 11.887.66 (again under 12,000).

US stocks lost more ground Wednesday, led by a selloff in bank stocks and following disappointing economic data. Stocks fell, erasing about half of yesterday’s rally. Equity futures are trading below fair value but off the session’s worst levels, as worries the Chinese economy may slow. The euro weakened as officials failed to agree on a rescue plan for Greece and Treasuries rose.  The S&P 500 halted its rebound from a 3 low as economic data spurred concern inflation is accelerating as growth slows.

 The market shot up so strongly yesterday, but the overall fundamentals were probably not there. The stock market is still overpriced, based on the overall economic data.

Aastrom (ASTM), International Stem Cell (ISCOE), Neuralstem (AMEX: CUR), ReNeuron (LSE: RENE.L and StemCells (STEM) … are up …

 What’s driving the regenerative medicine – stem cell market … one day DID NOT make a trend (yesterday) … 

 NeoStem (AMEX: NBS) to Present at 2 Investor Events:  Jason Kolbert, VP of Strategic Business Development, will present at the Proactive Investors One2One Investor Forum on June 16. NeoStem will also present at OneMedForumNY 2011 on June 23. The bottom line, NeoStem continues to position itself to be an emerging leader in the paradigm shift to cell-based therapeutics. NBS’ acquisition of Progenitor Cell Therapy (“PCT”) provides core expertise to facilitate transition as NBS focuses on acquiring assets that are ready for PII clinical trials, leveraging PCT’s manufacturing and NeoStem’s collection model and expertise.

 

StemCells (STEM) presented evidence of engraftment, migration and the long-term survival of its proprietary HuCNS-SC neural stem cells following transplantation into patients with a severe neurological disorder. Importantly, the results show that the cells can persist following the completion of the planned year-long immunosuppression regimen. The bottom line, the data supports the viability and utility of neural stem cell therapy as a potential treatment for a wide range of debilitating and lethal central nervous system (NYSE:CNS) disorders. STEM hopes to show that our HuCNS-SC human neural stem cells can dramatically impact a broad spectrum of neurological disorders. The durability of HuCNS-SC human neural stem cells within the hostile inflammatory environment of the diseased brain is only 1important aspect of the results being presented. The authors also report the persistence of the transplanted donor cells long after immunosuppressive treatment has been discontinued. This finding is significant because other allogeneic tissue and organ transplants usually require life-long immunosuppression, which carries increased risk for cancer and opportunistic infections. The data also support the belief that the central nervous system is “immune-privileged” and that a relatively brief period of immunosuppression may be all that is required to avoid the risk of transplant rejection within the CNS. Additional studies will determine whether immunosuppression protocols can be further optimized. The data was derived from postmortem examinations of 3 patients in the PI clinical trial of HuCNS-SC cells in neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL, also referred to as Batten disease), a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disorder in children. The patients expired from causes related to the underlying disease. Analysis of the brain tissue of 2 of the patients at autopsy revealed the presence of the donor cells at the sites of transplantation as well as evidence of migration into deeper structures of the brain, confirming similar observations made in animal models. In one of these patients, the persistence of the donor cells was evident 2.5 years post transplant and 1.5 years after completion of the immunosuppression regimen

BioMimetic Therapeutics (NASDAQ:BMTI) approved the amendment to the Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation. The bottom line of the annual meeting was to increase the number of shares of common stock authorized for issuance from 37,500,000 to 100,000,000.

Immunotherapy might be the key to a cure for cancer
Cancer survives and spreads in part by evading detection by the body’s immune system, which has led some scientists to look toward immunotherapy as the key to a cure. “If we are ever going to use the word ‘cure,’ the immune system is going to have to come into play,” said Stephen Hodi, director of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s melanoma center. The bottom line, some immunotherapy prevents cancer from slowing or halting immune response; others help the immune system find and kill tumors. A number of drugs are in the pipeline, and researchers are working to minimize side effects and cost

Human nose contains stem cells that hold promise for brain diseases: Scientists at the California-based Salk Institute for Biological Studies found that the human nose contains stem cells, called human olfactory ecto-mesenchymal stem cells, which could someday help treat brain diseases, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. They conducted experiments on mice that suffered brain injuries and found that the transplanted stem cells reached the damaged part of the brain and turned into nerve cells.

iPierian Shakeup Continues: Two of the leaders at iPierian, the high-profile stem cell startup in South San Francisco co-founded by scientists at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, have left the company in the wake of its strategic shift this spring. The bottom line, Corey Goodman, the prominent neuroscientist and biotech executive, has resigned his position as chairman of the board. Doug Melton, a star scientist at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and a co-founder of has also left his role as a scientific advisor to the company, sources say. Goodman and Melton’s biographies have been removed from the website. The departures are the latest chapter in the ongoing shakeup.  Former CEO, Mike Venuti, was terminated by the board in late April, and the company’s heads of finance, business development, and legal/intellectual property were all dismissed within days. Numerous institutions have a stake in this turnover at the top, since iPierian has raised more than $50 million from some of the biggest names in Big Pharma and venture capital, including Kleiner Perkins, Highland Capital Partners, MPM Capital, Google Ventures, GlaxoSmithKline’s SR One, and Biogen Idec New Ventures.

 

Reiterating, no matter what technical condition the general market is in, it is a good idea for the regenerative medicine investor to maintain a watch list of potential buy candidates. Significant bottoms in the universe occur in short order and being prepared for that event by knowing which stocks are likely to lead in the ensuing advance is critical. At this stage in the “soft patch”, the names that draw attention are those which are holding up despite the selling. Monitored these stocks in case a new intermediate-term advance ensues!

More to come ….