Friday, May 30, 2014

Sparse News Coverage This Morning of California Stem Cell Agency Action

LA JOLLA, Ca. -- Media coverage of the resurrection of the Geron's landmark human embryonic stem cell trial was light today in the wake of a $14.3 million award by the California stem cell agency to support its continuation.

The San Diego U-T and the San Francisco Business Times both carried stories but none others appeared this morning in a Google search.

Bradley Fikes of the San Diego newspaper attended yesterday's CIRM board meeting here. He wrote,
"A potentially groundbreaking trial to treat spinal cord injuries with tissue grown from human embryonic stem cells will resume, after being funded by the California's stem cell agency."

Both he and Ron Leuty of the San Francisco Business Times also noted the award to Sangamo BioSciences of Richmond, CaLeuty wrote,
"Sangamo BioSciences Inc. (NASDAQ: SGMO) of Richmond will split a $5.6 million California Institute for Regenerative Medicine award with Dr. John Zaia of the Beckman Research Institute at the City of Hope near Los Angeles to take blood stem cells from HIV patients and cut and replace a gene that is key to the spread of the AIDS virus."

Asteris issued a press release this morning that said,
“We are preparing to initiate the dose escalation Phase 1/2a clinical trial of AST-OPC1 in patients with cervical injuries in 6-9 months subject to FDA clearance,” stated Edward Wirth III M.D., Ph.D., Asterias’ Chief Translational Officer. “Achievements in this CIRM-supported program could also help accelerate further development of AST-OPC1 in other neurodegenerative diseases such as stroke and multiple sclerosis. We are currently evaluating the function of AST-OPC1 in nonclinical models of these diseases.”
“This award provides significant non-dilutive funding to accelerate the development of AST-OPC1 for patients with spinal cord injury. Given the lack of any approved therapies for spinal cord injury and the high level of disability, substantial costs of care, and shorter life expectancy of injured individuals, AST-OPC1 has the potential to address a substantial unmet medical need in this condition,” stated Katharine Spink, Ph.D., Asterias’ Chief Operating Officer."

BioTime's stock price was up 22 cents this morning at the time of this writing to $2.95. It has risen from $2.42 on May 22 when the California Stem Cell Report first carriednews of the California stem cell agency award.

Sangamo has not yet issued a press release, but its stock price was at $13.68 this morning, up 16 cents.

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