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Pluristem Shares Bounce Back After Thursday Plunge

From Associated Press (November 9, 2012)

NEW YORK -- Shares of biotechnology company Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. bounced back Friday after the company responded to a report that a patient treated with its PLX stem cell therapy had died.

THE SPARK: Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported Thursday that Pluristem did not disclose the death of a young patient who had been treated with its placental cell therapy before a $32 million public stock sale in September. Shares of Pluristem fell 23 percent Thursday.

The Israeli company said Thursday evening that parts of the article were inaccurate or misleading. It said the patient, a Romanian girl whose name has not been disclosed, was "in imminent danger of death" at the time she was treated with the stem cells. She was not part of an organized clinical trial and was treated on a compassionate basis because no therapy options remained.

Pluristem said the patient lived for six months after her treatment. She returned to Romania four months before she died and the company was not monitoring her health. Pluristem said it was not aware of her death at the time it sold the additional stock. Bloomberg said the patient died Sept. 12, the day the stock sale was announced. The sale closed a week later.

"The formal report relating to the death clearly stated that there was no connection between the PLX cell treatment and the death of the patient," Pluristem said in a press release.

THE BIG PICTURE: Pluristem said that three patients have been treated with PLX on a compassionate basis -- including the Romanian girl -- and two have died. The company said it believes the patients lived longer than expected following treatment, which demonstrates that PLX therapy can be effective. The company is studying the stem cells as a treatment for peripheral artery disease, nerve pain, and other conditions.

THE STOCK: Shares of Pluristem rose 39 cents, or 13.7 percent, to $3.24 on Friday. The stock reached an annual high of $5 per share in August, and including Friday’s gains, the shares are down 29 percent since the company announced the stock offering.

Posted: November 2012