Orphan Drug Designation for MultiStem in Graft vs. Host Disease, Athersys, Inc. (ATHX)
GvHD is a common condition associated with a bone marrow transplant in which immune cells in the transplanted marrow recognize the transplant recipient as foreign and mount an immunologic attack.
- Because of MultiStem’s consistent safety profile, potential for off-the-shelf administration, and multiple mechanisms of action; MultiStem(R) could help effectively address the needs of this patient community.
MultiStem is currently in a phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate the safety of administration in support of bone marrow transplantation for the treatment of certain cancers of the blood and immune system, where GvHD is a common complication.
- Although partnered for select indications in other areas, such as with Pfizer for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, and Angiotech for the treatment of cardiovascular disease; ATHX maintains exclusive development rights to MultiStem for the oncology area, as well as a broad range of other indications.
ATHX is working with leading experts in the stem cell and bone marrow transplantation field to study MultiStem in preclinical models of radiation therapy and GvHD.
- In multiple preclinical models, MultiStem has been shown to be non-immunogenic, even when administered without the genetic matching that is typically required for conventional bone marrow or stem cell transplantation;
- Preclinical data have also shown that MultiStem suppresses the undesired T-cell-mediated immune responses that are an important factor in causing GvHD and that MultiStem treatment leads to a significant increase in survival;
- MultiStem administration also improved overall health and may have the potential to reduce the incidence or severity of complications associated with bone marrow transplant, including severe anemia, immunodeficiency and a substantial reduction in digestive capacity.
MultiStem is a patented and proprietary cell therapy product consisting of a special class of stem cells that are obtained from the bone marrow or other tissue sources of healthy, consenting adult donors, which have demonstrated the ability to produce a range of factors, as well as form multiple cell types.
- MultiStem appears to promote tissue repair and healing in multiple ways, such as through the production of multiple therapeutic factors produced in response to signals of inflammation and tissue damage;
- ATHX believes that MultiStem represents a unique “off-the-shelf” stem cell product based on work that demonstrates the ability to deliver multiple mechanisms of therapeutic benefit, administration of the product without tissue matching or immunosuppression, and its capacity for large-scale production.