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Monday
Dec052011

Reuters reports on Stem cell research: "It will only take a few successes to really change the field"

Very interesting VBlog today at Reuters on Stem Cell Research, it states:

"Dozens of adult stem cell treatments are moving through clinical trials and showing early success, raising hopes that some could reach the market within five years.

"It will only take a few successes to really change the field," said Gil Van Bokkelen, chief executive of Athersys Inc and chairman of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine. "As you see things getting closer and closer to that tipping point, you're going to see a frenzy of activity take place."

Many of the trials focus on heart disease and inflammatory conditions, some of the biggest markets in medicine. The cells used are derived from adult tissue such as fat, or bone marrow, thereby circumventing the ethical concerns raised by the use of cells derived from embryos.

Data for the most part remains early, but as more results emerge, pharmaceutical companies are beginning to take note.

"A lot of big companies are looking to place bets on some Phase II products once that data has been confirmed," said Paul Schmitt, managing partner at venture capital firm Novitas Capital. "Even now they're attending all the medical meetings and talking to all the stem cell companies."

Venture funds like Novitas are taking different approaches to playing the emerging field. Novitas invested $4 million in Amorcyte Inc, a company recently acquired by NeoStem ($NBS) that is developing a treatment for heart disease. It is sticking to that investment for now."

 See the full story and slideshow at Reuters.

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