For its promising investigational therapeutic approach to neurodegenerative diseases, including progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics is the Buzz of BIO 2020 winner in the Public Therapeutic Biotech category.
The Buzz of BIO contest identifies U.S. companies with groundbreaking, early-stage potential to improve lives. The event also is an opportunity to make investor connections that could take products to the next phase.
Ten biotechnology companies are nominated in each of the three categories of Buzz of BIO: Public Therapeutic Biotech, Private Therapeutic Biotech, and Diagnostics and Beyond. In the Public Therapeutic Biotech category that BrainStorm won, nominated companies must be actively developing a publicly traded human treatment intended for review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
As a developer of autologous cellular therapies for debilitating neurodegenerative diseases, BrainStorm is testing its investigational therapy, NurOwn, in progressive MS patients, for whom treatment options are limited.
The therapy is based on patients’ own bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells that are engineered to secrete growth factors. Such factors are thought to protect nerves from damage, promote the repair of myelin (the protective coat of neurons that is destroyed in MS), and ultimately slow or stabilize disease progression.
BrainStorm’s current open-label Phase 2 clinical study (NCT03799718) is enrolling up to 20 adults with either secondary progressive or primary progressive MS at three U.S. sites: the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the Stanford School of Medicine, and the Cleveland Clinic. After undergoing a bone marrow aspiration to collect cells, each participant will receive three intrathecal (injected into the spinal cord) NurOwn cell transplants within 16 weeks, and will be tracked for at least another 12 weeks to assess safety and effectiveness. Contact information for the trial centers is available here.
“Thanks to everyone who voted for BrainStorm during the Buzz of BIO competition,” Chaim Lebovits, BrainStorm president and CEO, said in a press release.
As the winner of the contest, BrainStorm also was invited to give a presentation at the Bio CEO & Investor Conference, to be held Feb. 10–11 in New York City.
“The entire management team at BrainStorm was very pleased with the results of this competition, and we look forward to presenting to an audience of accredited investors who may benefit from the company’s story,” said Lebovits. “We thank the BIO [Biotechnology Innovation Organization] team for singling out BrainStorm’s NurOwn as a key technology with the potential to improve lives.”
NurOwn cells also are being tested in a Phase 3 trial (NCT03280056) in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).