StemCells, Inc. to Present Phase I Clinical Trial Results at the 12th International Congress on NCL
The six-patient Phase I trial, conducted at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children's Hospital, was designed primarily to assess the safety associated with transplanting HuCNS-SC cells as a treatment for infantile and late infantile NCL, often referred to as Batten disease.
About Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (Batten Disease)
Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder that afflicts infants and young children. The disorder is caused by genetic mutations, and children who inherit the defective gene are unable to produce enough of an enzyme that processes cellular waste substances that accumulate in a part of cells known as the lysosome. Without the enzyme, the cellular waste builds up, and eventually the cells cannot function and die. Children with NCL appear healthy when born, but as their brain cells die, they begin to suffer seizures and progressively lose motor skills, sight and mental capacity. Eventually, these children become blind, bedridden and unable to communicate or function on their own. There currently is no cure for the disease. The infantile and late infantile forms of NCL are caused by different genetic mutations. As the names imply, the two forms begin to afflict patients at different stages of infancy, but both have similar disease progression and outcomes.
About HuCNS-SC® Cells
StemCells' lead product candidate, HuCNS-SC cells, is a purified composition of normal human neural stem cells that are expanded and stored as banks of cells. The Company's preclinical research has shown that HuCNS-SC cells can be directly transplanted; they engraft, migrate, differentiate into neurons and glial cells; and they survive for as long as one year with no sign of tumor formation or adverse effects. These findings show that HuCNS-SC cells, when transplanted, act like normal stem cells, suggesting the possibility of a continual replenishment of normal human neural cells.
About StemCells, Inc.
StemCells, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the research, development and commercialization of products derived from stem cell technologies. In its therapeutic product development programs, StemCells is focused on developing cell-based therapeutics to treat diseases of the central nervous system and liver. StemCells has pioneered the discovery and development of HuCNS-SC cells, its highly purified, expandable population of human neural stem cells. StemCells has completed a six patient Phase I clinical trial of its proprietary HuCNS-SC product candidate as a treatment for neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL), a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects infants and young children. StemCells has also received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to initiate a Phase I clinical trial of the HuCNS-SC cells to treat Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease (PMD), a rare and fatal brain disorder that mainly affects young children. StemCells, through its wholly owned subsidiaries Stem Cell Sciences UK Ltd and Stem Cell Sciences Australia Pty, is also pursuing applications of its cell-based technologies to develop research tools, such as cell-based assays, media and reagent tools, which the Company believes represent nearer-term commercial opportunities. StemCells has exclusive rights to approximately 55 issued or allowed U.S. patents and approximately 200 granted or allowed non-U.S. patents. Further information about StemCells is available on its web site at: www.stemcellsinc.com.
Apart from statements of historical fact, the text of this press release constitutes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and is subject to the safe harbors created therein. These statements include, but are not limited to, the future business operations of StemCells, Inc. (the “Company”), the potential for its cell-based therapeutics to treat diseases or disorders, and its ability to conduct clinical trials as well as its research and product development efforts. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this news release. The Company does not undertake to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that occur after the date hereof. Such statements reflect management's current views and are based on certain assumptions that may or may not ultimately prove valid. The Company's actual results may vary materially from those contemplated in such forward-looking statements due to risks and uncertainties to which the Company is subject, including uncertainty as to whether the FDA or other applicable regulatory agencies will permit the Company to continue clinical testing in NCL or in future clinical trials of proposed therapies for other diseases or conditions despite the novel and unproven nature of the Company's technologies; uncertainties regarding the Company's ability to obtain the increased capital resources needed to continue its current and planned research and development operations, including such operations of the company for non-therapeutic applications, and to conduct the research, preclinical development and clinical trials necessary for regulatory approvals; uncertainty as to whether HuCNS-SC and any products that may be generated in the future in the Company's cell-based programs will prove safe and clinically effective and not cause tumors or other adverse side effects; and other factors that are described under the heading “Risk Factors” in Item 1A of Part II of the Company's most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.
Contact: StemCells, Inc.
Megan Meloni, 650-475-3100 ext. 105
Posted: June 2009