NETANYA, Israel, May 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Israeli biotechnology company, BioGenCell, founded by Dr. Yael Porat and Prof. Michael Belkin, and developer of unique technology for using stem cells from the patient's own blood to treat microvascular diseases, has completed a $16 million seed round, led by Marius Nacht, Israel's largest private biotech investor.
BioGenCell's innovative, accessible and painless medical platform focuses on the needs of patients and physicians. The current product treats severe limb-threatening ischemia (CLI) typically found in patients with diabetes and heavy smokers. CLI is a serious and painful disease caused by the acute blockage of blood flow in small blood vessels, leading to constant pain, chronic inflammation, sores, and loss of limbs. Its implications are tragic. Typically, within a year of diagnosis, 30% of patients are candidates for amputation, and there is a 20% morbidity rate. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 80,000 non-traumatic leg amputations are performed each year.
As part of the treatment, stem and other cells taken from the patient in a standard blood draw are manipulated under BioGenCell's patented process and then reinjected into the leg muscle. The injected cell mixture promotes the production of new blood vessels that bypass the damaged ones and thus renew blood flow to the leg; reduces the local inflammatory process; and cleans the damage caused by the inflammation. Cell reinjection is performed once and can occur in any standard treatment room.
In its Phase I clinical trials, BioGenCell successfully treated five patients who had previously tried all the other available treatments and were about to undergo leg amputation. The company later successfully treated another four, more-serious compassion cases. The treatment was found safe and, although every patient starts with different conditions, all the patients improved in at least three objective parameters, including prevention of amputation, improved blood flow, healing of chronic sores, and ability to walk, as well as subjective parameters, such as reduced pain (enabling weaning off narcotics) and improved quality of patient lives. Based on these patients, the treatment appears to have a long-lasting therapeutic effect.
BioGenCell recently received FDA permission to continue to Phase II controlled, double-blind trials. If successful, BioGenCell's future product line, based on its technology, includes those to restore blood vessels related to kidney failure, pulmonary hypertension, heart failure, stroke, blindness, and more.
Dr. Uri Yaron, head of Mr. Nacht's biotech and health investment arm, said, "BioGenCell developed a potential breakthrough, cell-based solution for treatment of incurable patients with life-threatening microvascular disease. We believe in its process and potential to transform treatment with a simple and effective solution for patients, and we are delighted to invest in the company at this stage, to help finance BioGenCell's Phase II trial." Dr. Yaron will join the BioGenCell Board of Directors.
BioGenCell is located at and has a strategic partnership with Laniado Hospital in Netanya, Israel.
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