Pfizer to buy stem-cell therapy from Athersys- NY Times

Dec 21 (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc PFE.N, the world's biggest drugmaker, is buying the rights to a stem-cell therapy to treat inflammatory bowel disease from Athersys Inc ATHX.O, the New York Times said on its website late on Sunday.

Pfizer will pay Athersys $6 million initially and up to $105 million in the future, according to the paper.

Athersys’s cells, which are derived from human bone marrow, have yet to be tested in people with inflammatory bowel disease, the paper said. Pfizer and Athersys could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours.

Stem cells are the body’s ultimate master cells. They make up days-old embryos and have the power to give rise to all the cells and tissues in the body.

Scientists hope to use them to transform medicine by growing new tissue and repairing damage. Opponents say it is wrong to destroy human embryos for any reason. (Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore; Editing by Anshuman Daga)