Asterias Expands The Indication Exploration Scope For AST-OPC1 Cell Therapy

A depiction of a neuron of the central nervous system, with the myelin sheath of oligodendrocytes shown along the axon length in a light beige color. Source: Clker-Free-Vector-Images, no changes made, CC0 Creative Commons.
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Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. is a biotechnology company dedicated to developing cell-based therapeutics to treat neurological conditions associated with demyelination and cellular immunotherapies to treat cancer. Asterias is presently focused on advancing three clinical-stage programs which have the potential to address areas of very high unmet medical need in the fields of neurology and oncology.

AST-OPC1 is an oligodendrocyte progenitor cell population derived from human embryonic stem cells. It was demonstrated in preclinical testing in animals and in vitro to have three potentially reparative functions that address the complex pathologies observed in demyelination disorders, such as spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis and white matter stroke. These potential reparative functions of AST-OPC1 include the production of neurotrophic factors, the stimulation of vascularization, and the induction of remyelination of denuded axons, all of which are critical for survival and regrowth of functional axons at the injury site.

AST-OPC1 is currently in a Phase 1/2a dose escalation clinical trial in spinal cord injury. The company recently released a six-month data readout for its AST-OPC1 Phase 1/2a clinical trial in Severe Spinal Cord Injury which continued to demonstrate a favorable safety profile, and potential for durable cell engraftment at the injury site with improved motor function.

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Furthermore, Asterias has entered into an exclusive license agreement with The Regents of the University of California.  Under the agreement, the Company has exclusive rights in all fields of use for a patent family that claims a method of improving recovery in a patient that has suffered an ischemic stroke by administering to the patient stem cell-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cells.

“The preliminary results of our ongoing spinal cord injury trial are encouraging and we are excited to begin to expand our neurology platform to other indications.” … “We look forward to exploring whether our AST-OPC1 product candidate can help patients that have suffered an ischemic stroke and other patients with demyelinating conditions where there is a large, unmet medical need.” – Michael Mulroy, Asterias President and Chief Executive Officer