Latest developments in the field of stem cell research and regenerative medicine compiled from publicly available information and press releases from nonacademic institutions 1 February-31 March 2015

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Author: Dusko Ilic
Date: Aug. 2015
From: Regenerative Medicine(Vol. 10, Issue 5)
Publisher: Future Medicine Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 5,146 words
Lexile Measure: 1380L

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Author(s): Dusko Ilic [*] aff1

Business development

Collaborations, partnerships & alliances

Co-development agreement: Merck Serono & Otsuka

Merck (Germany; subsidiary Merck Serono (Germany; has amended its development and license deal with Opexa Therapeutics (TX, USA; for Tcelna (imilecleucel-T), handing over US$3 million to further support an ongoing trial with the personalized immunotherapy for multiple sclerosis. Merck's payment will help fund the current Phase IIb clinical study assessing Tcelna for patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, as well as support planning of potential late-stage trials. Under their original 2013 deal, Merck Serono paid Opexa a US$5 million upfront fee for the option to exclusively license Tcelna - a potential first-in-class personalized therapy, which has received USA fast-track designation for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Merck's option can be exercised prior to or upon completion of the ongoing midstage study, top-line data from which is expected in the second half of 2016. If this occurs, Merck will pay Opexa another US$25 million (or US$15 million, depending upon whether certain conditions are met) for worldwide development and commercial rights excluding Japan, and fund its further development.

Collaboration agreement: ARM & FIRM

The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM;, the international organization representing the regenerative medicine and advanced therapies field, has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Japan's Forum for Innovative Regenerative Medicine (FIRM; FIRM is a Tokyo-based trade association that establishes advanced therapies industry-led partnerships with governments, academia, research institutions and the private sector to further research and promote a stable and welcoming business environment. According to the terms of the Memorandum, ARM and FIRM will be granted reciprocal, nonvoting membership in the other's organization and will be responsible for reporting on pertinent regulatory trends. The organizations will also have the opportunity to participate in the other's events and conferences as presenters and panelists, and will have an observation role in the other's board and membership meetings.

Collaboration agreement: Astra Zeneca & Harvard Stem Cell Institute

AstraZeneca (UK; entered into a 5-year research collaboration with the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (MA, USA; to adapt a technique that creates human pancreatic [beta] cells from stem cells for use in screens of AstraZeneca's compound library in the search for new treatments for diabetes. AstraZeneca will provide funding for a team of investigators at Harvard Stem Cell Institute led by Dr Melton as well as establishing an in-house team in Mölndal, Sweden, dedicated to the collaboration. Scientists from each organization will work together to understand the biology behind the loss of human [beta]-cell function and mass in diabetes, and to screen compounds against the cells produced to search for potential new medicines that could restore [beta]-cell activity in diabetic patients.

Collaboration agreement: Eppendorf & Florida State University

A collaboration between Eppendorf (Germany; and Florida State University (FL, USA; has successfully shown the feasibility of large-scale expansion of human mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSC) using the company's proprietary Fibra-Cel® , a packed-bed 3D matrix, using a CelliGen® 310 bioreactor...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A424015175