NESS ZIONA, Israel, April 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Israeli biotechnology company Kadimastem (TASE: KDST) announces it was granted a patent from the Japanese Patent Office for its technology in the field of diabetes treatment.
The patent is for a method of producing insulin-secreting cells from stem cells, and it is likely to constitute the foundation for the company's products in the field of stem-cell based treatment of diabetes.
Kadimastem is working to develop innovative treatments for diabetes through transplantation of insulin-secreting cells which were differentiated from human stem cells. The Japanese market is one of the most significant markets for treatments in the field of stem cell-based therapy.
In Japan, there are over seven million diabetes patients over the age of 20, and the annual cost of treatment is estimated at $29 billion.
Japan is one of the most significant countries globally in its advancement of innovation and products in the cell-based therapy field. In November 2014, the Japanese parliament enacted a law, designed to facilitate clinical trials in the regenerative medicine field, in order to expedite the approval of cell-based treatments and to bring them quickly to market. South Korea also has enacted regulatory facilitations. According to the Japanese law, cell-based treatments will receive a conditional, time-limited approval for marketing upon proof of safety and a signal of effectiveness (clinical phase I/IIa), but prior to verification of efficacy. Safety and efficacy need to be confirmed via collection of observational data after the conditional approval. Thereby, a successful clinical phase I/IIa will enable the commercialization of the product and shorten the development of the drug.
Yossi Ben Yossef, Kadimastem's CEO, noted: "We are happy about the grant of the patent in Japan and the strengthening of our intellectual property. The Southeast Asian market is a large and substantial market for the company's future products, therefore the granting of the patent in Japan is of particular importance. The regulatory facilitation in the field of cell-based treatments in Japan opens major opportunities for Kadimastem in the Japanese market. In light of the new regulation, the company is examining possibilities of business collaboration with companies in the pharmaceutical industries in Japan and South Korea, both for its products in the field of diabetes and in the field of ALS. To the best of our knowledge, as a result of the new regulation, a number of transactions have taken place recently between stem cell companies and Japanese pharmaceutical companies, which indicates the readiness of the Japanese market and the potential it holds."
Professor Michel Revel, the company's Chief Scientist, noted: "The progress in the IP landscape and the regulatory changes in the Japanese market open new doors for Kadimastem, for the marketing of its future diabetes and ALS products in both Japan and South Korea."
Kadimastem is a biotechnology company, operating in the field of regenerative medicine - a groundbreaking field in which the malfunctioning of organs which leads to diseases is repaired by external cells, tissues or organs. The company specializes in the development of human stem cell-based medical solutions for the treatment of diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS and Multiple Sclerosis. The company was founded in August 2009 by Professor Michel Revel and Yossi Ben Yossef, and is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE: KDST). Kadimastem employs 32 people, of which 12 are PhDs, and its 1,700m offices and labs are located in the Ness Ziona Science Park.
Kadimastem was founded based on patent protected technology that was developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Prof. Michel Revel's laboratory. Prof. Revel, who serves as the company's Chief Scientist and director, developed Merck KGaA's blockbuster drug, Rebif® for the treatment of MS (sales of around $2.4 billion sales in 2014).
Based on the company's unique platform, Kadimastem is developing two types of medical applications: A. Regenerative medicine, which repairs and replaces organs and tissue by using functioning cells differentiated from stem cells. The company focuses on transplanting healthy brain cells to support the survivability of nerve cells as cell therapy for ALS, and transplanting insulin-secreting pancreatic cells for the treatment of insulin-dependent diabetes; B. Drug screening platforms, which use functional human cells and tissues to discover new medicinal drugs. The company has two collaboration agreements with leading global pharmaceutical companies.
The company is headed by Yossi Ben-Yossef, an entrepreneur with extensive experience in life sciences companies. The company's chairman is Dr. Eli Opper, formerly the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Labor and Trade, and its investors include Altshuler Shaham Investment House, foreign investors (Julien Ruggieri and Avi Meizler), and the company's founders.
Kadimastem has an extensive scientific advisory board, featuring prominent scientists and pioneers: in the embryonic stem cells field, Professor Benjamin Reubinoff, Director of the Hadassah Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Center and Senior Physician at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Hadassah University Medical Center and Professor Joseph Itskovich, world renowned expert and pioneer in pluripotent stem cell research and former head of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Rambam Medical Center; in the neurodegenerative disease field, Professor Tamir Ben-Hur, Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Hadassah University Medical Center; and in the diabetes field, Professor Shimon Efrat, professor of Human Molecular Genetics and Juvenile Diabetes at Tel Aviv University and a world renowned expert in cell replacement therapy for diabetes and Professor Eddy Karnieli, Director of the Institute for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the Rambam Medical Center, and a world renowned expert in these fields.