Dec 4 (Reuters) -
While it is too early to predict winners, here are some of
the programs that are likely to attract attention in the coming
* Aastrom Biosciences Inc is due to start a Phase
III trial of its treatment for critical limb ischemia (CLI), a
severe form of peripheral artery disease. Aastrom uses cells
derived from a patient's own bone marrow. The company is also
conducting Phase II trials of the drug in patients with dilated
cardiomyopathy, an end-stage form of heart failure.
* Athersys Inc is developing a product known as
MultiStem using stem cells obtained from donors' bone marrow
and other tissue. It is being tested in four human clinical
trials: ulcerative colitis, heart attack, ischemic stroke and
complications from bone marrow or stem cell transplants.
Athersys has a deal with Pfizer Inc to develop
MultiStem for treating inflammatory bowel disease.
* Baxter International Inc is studying the use of
patients' own bone marrow stem cells to treat heart problems,
including severe angina, or chest pain. The company is planning
a Phase III trial.
* Celgene Corp uses cells from human placentas and
expects to announce in mid-2012 results from Phase II trials in
Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also conducting
a mid-stage trial in stroke patients.
* Cytori Therapeutics Inc is using fat
cell-derived stem and regenerative cells to develop treatments
for heart disease and reconstructive surgery. To treat heart
attack, a small amount of fat tissue is removed shortly after
the heart attack. Stem and regenerative cells are separated and
concentrated. The cells are infused into the coronary artery to
increase blood flow.
* Fibrocell Science Inc, a company that is traded over the
counter, received U.S. approval earlier this year for Laviv,
its stem cell-based treatment for smile wrinkles. The product
is made by extracting and multiplying a person's own
collagen-making cells, and injecting them at the wrinkle site.
* Gamida Cell is in a joint venture with Teva
Pharmaceutical Industries to develop StemEx for
patients with blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma who
cannot find a matched bone marrow donor. The Israel-based
companies are conducting a Phase III trial of StemEx, a graft
of stem cells from umbilical cord blood.
* Mesoblast Ltd is developing therapies for
cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, inflammatory conditions
and other disorders. U.S. regulators recently approved a Phase
III study using Mesoblast cells in patients needing bone marrow
* NeoStem Inc is developing a product to prevent
further tissue damage in patients who have suffered a heart
attack. The company expects to begin a Phase II study of
AMR-001 in the first quarter of 2012. NeoStem isolates repair
cells from a patient's own bone marrow and inserts them through
a stent in the previously-blocked artery. The cells then
migrate into the healthy tissue that surrounds the damaged
area, increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients.
* Neuralstem Inc is targeting neurodegenerative
diseases such as stroke, Alzheimer's, spinal cord injury and
Parkinson's disease. The company uses stem cell lines derived
from human fetal tissue.
* Osiris Therapeutics Inc is developing treatments
for inflammatory, autoimmune, orthopedic and cardiovascular
diseases using bone-marrow-derived stem cells. Its drug
Prochymal is being tested in Phase III trials for acute graft
versus host disease (GvHD) and Crohn's disease.
* Pharmicell Co Ltd , listed in South Korea,
produces Heartcellgram-AMI for heart attack patients. The
treatment, based on stem cells extracted from the patient's
bone marrow, was approved by Korean health regulators.
* Pluristem Therapeutics Inc is using cells from
human placentas for a range of diseases, including peripheral
artery disease. Pluristem has also licensed its PLX (placental
expanded) cells to United Therapeutics Corp to develop
a treatment for pulmonary hypertension.
* StemCells Inc is working on therapies to treat
damage or degeneration of major organ systems. The company
plans to seek regulatory approval by year-end for a trial of
the therapy in the dry form of age-related macular