“We enjoy the advantage of having a large amount of clinical data on 2,000 patients. So we analyzed who received which cells and which cells worked best in different conditions. This allowed us to create our selection process through molecular profiling,” explained Medistem (Panama) Founder and CEO Dr. Neil Riordan.
Operating what is arguably the country’s most advanced laboratory, an 8,000-sq-ft facility in the City of Knowledge science and technology cluster, Medistem has raised its profile in recent years as it develops stem cell-based products for clinical trials for treatment of autism, asthma, multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and spinal cord injuries.
Utilizing its patented technologies, Medistem harvests human adult stem cells from umbilical cords, tissues and blood as well as from bone marrow and adipose tissue. “We have intellectual property on a methodology for basically defining which are good cells, which are mediocre and which are the useless ones. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved our cells for compassionate use in the United States. This is a big step,” Riordan said.
Compassionate use, also known as expanded access, refers to the use of investigational new drugs outside of a clinical trial by patients with serious, life-threatening conditions. After finishing its first prospective clinical trial, and with six others in the pipeline, the company is considering the favorable regulatory conditions for cell therapy in Japan, now a promising market for its products.
“Japan has a law on the books that allows a company of our size to commercialize such products. That makes it our number one priority. We are gearing up to present our data to regulators, as well holding talks with potential partners over there,” Riordan added.