Biopharmaceutical company Athersys Inc. and Fast Forward LLC, a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, today announced an alliance to fund the development of Athersys’ MultiStem® adult stem cell platform for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (NYSE:MS), a chronic, unpredictable neurological disease affecting the central nervous system.
The MultiStem platform includes the treatment of chronic progressive forms of the disease, and was designed with the goal of accelerating the clinical application of MultiStem for patients diagnosed with MS.
“We are pleased to partner with Athersys to develop a new approach to treat MS with their proprietary platform, MultiStem,” Timothy Coetzee, Ph.D., chief research officer of the National MS Society and Fast Forward, stated in the press release. “Fast Forward’s partnership with Athersys reflects our commitment to seek out and fund innovative biotechnology companies with products that address critical unmet needs for treating MS that could lead to improved quality of life for people living with this debilitating disease.”
Per the agreement, Fast Forward will commit up to $640,000 to fund the advancement of the program to clinical development stage, which includes preclinical testing of MultiStem in murine models to determine efficacy and safety. From here, Athersys intents on submitting a new drug application (NYSE:IND) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If Athersys is successful in obtaining an IND for MultiStem, Athersys would remit certain milestone payments to Fast Forward.
“We are extremely proud of the innovative work we and our broad network of collaborators have been conducting in these areas of significant unmet medical need,” said Gil Van Bokkelen, Ph.D., chairman and CEO of Athersys. “This collaboration not only underscores the promise and potential of MultiStem for treating Multiple Sclerosis, but will also help accelerate our ongoing efforts to develop novel, safe and effective treatments for patients in other neurological areas as well, especially those that involve chronic inflammation in the brain. We look forward to continuing to work with our development partners and to forging research relationships with visionary foundations like Fast Forward for MS research to help us reach this goal.”
The company reports that MultiStem has demonstrated potential as treatment for treating multiple disease indications in the neurological, cardiovascular, and inflammatory and immune disease areas. Athersys currently has four clinical-stage MultiStem programs.
For more information visit www.athersys.com
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