Tuesday, June 09, 2015

NeoStem's New Name, Backed by $29 Million in New Cash

The caladrius at work
Say hello to the latest recipient of nearly $18 million from the California stem cell agency -- Caladrius Biosciences, Inc.

It is also a firm that is $29 million richer -- on top of the $18 million -- than it was when the $3 billion state research enterprise awarded the firm the money on May 21.

Caladrius is the new name for NeoStem, Inc., of New York, N.Y.  It is also the name of a video game once described by the Giantbomb web site as a “A 2013 bullet hell shooter from Moss.”

Caladrius has a longer history, however, than the video game. According to The Medieval Bestiary web site, the caladrius is an all-white bird – sort of a mythological diagnostic tool – that would refuse to look into the face of patients who were going to die. But the caladrius could also draw out the disease from the sick person and fly away with it.

David Mazzo, president of the firm, said yesterday,
“With the same objective of patient recovery, we, now as Caladrius Biosciences, are committed to bringing significant life-improving therapies to market, driving the evolution of the cell therapy industry and generating industry-leading growth through our innovation and executional excellence.” 
Caladrius sold more than 14 million shares of its stock earlier this month, raising nearly $29 million to help pay for the third stage clinical trial that has been backed by the stem cell agency. The firm is using the proceeds for, among other things, to meet the required match of the California state funding. The four-year trial is aimed at metastatic skin cancer. 

In his letter to shareholders yesterday, Mazzo laid out the future direction of the firm. He also cited the acquisition of an “asset” a year ago that provided the therapy now being funded by California. Mazzo said,
“Given that we acquired this asset approximately one year ago and, in the ensuing months, much of the external focus on our company was on our ischemic repair Phase 2 program, we believe that the market has not yet integrated the full potential of this mature immuno-therapy asset into the value of our company.”
Mazzo referred to the $124 million acquisition of California Stem Cell, Inc., of Irvine, Ca. Hans Keirstead, the president of that firm, is now senior vice president, research, and chief science officer of Caladrius.

Caladrius’ stock closed at $2.21 a share today, down from $2.30 on May 20, the day before it was awarded the California money. The stock has ranged from $2.03 to $7.23 over the last 52 weeks, but it jumped dramatically the day following the award and then fell back.

The Caladrius video game figure is markedly different than the bird depicted by medievalists(see below). For a review of the game, see here.  
Caladrius Blaze, the video game figure

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