Kadimastem - Stem Cell to Cure Diseases

News & Events > Press Releases - 2015

Kadimastem to Receive Sponsored Research Agreement with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Fast Forward Program

Sep. 29, 2015

This is the second consecutive grant the company was awarded

Ness Ziona, Israel, September 29, 2015, Israeli biotechnology company Kadimastem (TASE: KDST) reports that it was awarded a grant amounting to approximately NIS 600K by Fast Forward, the commercial research program of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The aim of Kadimastem’s research is testing the efficacy of a potential drug discovered through its drug screening platform in an animal model for MS. Today, Kadimastem uses stem cells mainly to produce brain supporting cells (astrocytes) as cell therapy for ALS and beta like cells for the treatment of diabetes.

The grant was approved after examination of the company’s scientific work by a team of world experts in the field, and the potential drug was found to be promising for development for repairing nerve-insulating myelin in multiple sclerosis by the Society. This is a preliminary stage, which will be followed by additional development stages of the compound which was found in the lab to be effective for the myelination process.

Yossi Ben Yossef, the company’s CEO, stated: “We are very proud of the grant we have been awarded from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This is the second grant we've been awarded to receive in as many weeks, and it is an achievement and a great vote of confidence in the company from reputable entities. Research grants provide the company with sources of financing without the necessity of issuing shares. This grant approval is a result of the company’s strategy in the last few months, to apply for research grants in its fields of operation, diabetes and ALS, and in parallel to utilize the knowledge and experience accumulated in the company, in the framework of Kadimastem's drug screening activity, in related fields".

"Kadimastem has developed a unique and robust screening platform to identify compounds that promote the maturation of neural stem cells into functional myelin-making oligodendrocytes.” said Mark Allegretta, Ph.D., Associate Vice President, Commercial Research for the National MS Society.  He continued, “This effort is aligned with the Society's goal to support development of new therapeutic strategies to promote myelin repair and restore function for people with MS.  The proof of concept studies we are funding are designed to validate this approach for the next steps in development.”

Kadimastem has vast expertise and a technological advantage in the research and development of the MS drug, due to the fact that Merck KGaA's blockbuster drug, Rebif® for the treatment of MS (sales of around $2.4 billion in 2014), was developed, in the laboratory of Prof. Michel Revel, the company’s Chief Scientist and one of its founders.

About Kadimastem

Kadimastem is a biotechnology company, operating in the field of regenerative medicine – a groundbreaking field in which the malfunctioning of organs which leads to diseases is repaired by external cells, tissues or organs. The company specializes in the development of human stem cell-based medical solutions for the treatment of diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS and Multiple Sclerosis. The company was founded in August 2009 by Professor Michel Revel and Yossi Ben Yossef, and is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE: KDST). Kadimastem employs 32 people, of which 11 are PhDs, and its 1,700m2 offices and labs are located in the Ness Ziona Science Park.

Kadimastem was founded based on patent protected technology that was developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Prof. Michel Revel’s laboratory. Prof. Revel, who serves as the company's Chief Scientist and director, developed Merck KGaA's blockbuster drug, Rebif® for the treatment of MS (sales of around $2.4 billion sales in 2014).

Based on the company's unique platform, Kadimastem is developing two types of medical applications: A. Regenerative medicine, which repairs and replaces organs and tissue by using functioning cells differentiated from stem cells. The company focuses on transplanting healthy brain cells to support the survivability of nerve cells as cell therapy for ALS, and transplanting insulin-secreting pancreatic cells for the treatment of insulin-dependent diabetes; B. Drug screening platforms, which use functional human cells and tissues to discover new medicinal drugs. The company has two collaboration agreements with leading global pharmaceutical companies.

The company is headed by Yossi Ben-Yossef, an entrepreneur with extensive experience in life sciences companies. The company's chairman is Dr. Eli Opper, formerly the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Labor and Trade, and its investors include Altshuler Shaham Investment House, foreign investors (Julien Ruggieri and Avi Meizler), and the company's founders.

Kadimastem has an extensive scientific advisory board, featuring prominent scientists and pioneers: in the stem cells field, Professor Benjamin Reubinoff and Professor Joseph Itskovich, in the neurodegenerative disease field, Professor Tamir Ben-Hur, and in the diabetes field, Professor Shimon Efrat and Professor Eddy Karnieli.

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The Society mobilizes people and resources so that everyone affected by MS can live their best lives as we stop MS in its tracks, restore what has been lost and end MS forever. To fulfill this mission, the Society funds cutting-edge research, drives change through advocacy, facilitates professional education, collaborates with MS organizations around the world, and provides programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move their lives forward. In 2014 alone, through our comprehensive nationwide network of programs and services, the Society devoted $122.2 million to connect more than one million individuals to the people, information and resources they needed. To move closer to a world free of MS, the Society also invested $50.2 million to support more than 380 new and ongoing research projects around the world. The Society is dedicated to achieving a world free of MS. Learn more at: www.nationalMSsociety.org.



About Fast Forward

Fast Forward, LLC is a nonprofit organization established by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to accelerate the development of treatments for MS. Fast Forward connects university-based MS research with private-sector drug development and funds small biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies to develop innovative MS therapies and repurpose FDA-approved drugs as new treatments for MS.


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