Personalized Stem Cells is ‘Personalized’ for a reason. Our primary focus has always been on providing autologous adipose derived stem cell services to physicians for their patients. When the pandemic struck, however, we felt a call to action and our focus was temporarily redirected. Over the past six months, we have diverted resources to developing a COVID-19 allogeneic stem cell program. With the help of our longtime collaborator, Calidi Biotherapeutics, and our sister company and contract manufacturing organization, VetStem Biopharma, we manufactured stem cells and received FDA approval for a Phase 1 COVID-19 clinical trial.
While we are very proud of all the hard work we poured into producing doses and procuring an expedited FDA approval, we never intended to stray from our autologous service. So, in keeping with our original plan, we recently entered into a licensing agreement with a local biotech company, giving them exclusive rights to our allogeneic stem cell program including COVID-19. But before we go into further detail, I’d like to explain the difference between autologous and allogeneic stem cell therapy.
Autologous vs. Allogeneic Stem Cell Therapy
Autologous adipose derived stem cell therapy is our specialty. Our sister veterinary company has been providing autologous adipose derived stem cell processing services to veterinarians for their patients since 2004. This experience and data is what led to the creation of PSC, a human adipose derived stem cell processing company.
Autologous simply means that the donor is also the recipient. So, let’s say that Tom is participating in our clinical trial for knee osteoarthritis. To begin the process, Tom will undergo a fat tissue collection procedure/liposuction. Tom’s fat is processed in our FDA inspected cleanrooms to isolate and concentrate his stem cells. Tom’s stem cells are then packaged in vials, frozen and quality tested. After testing and when the injection is scheduled by the doctor, the vial is sent for injection into Tom’s arthritic knee. Thus, Tom is both the donor and the recipient of his own stem cells.
In contrast, allogeneic stem cell therapy is when the donor is different than the recipient. So, in keeping with our initial scenario, Tom is now hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19 infection. He is going to receive stem cell therapy as part of the COVID-19 clinical trial. The cells Tom will receive are not his own but instead are from a disease-screened donor.
Refocusing on Personalized Stem Cell Therapy
Now that you understand the difference between autologous and allogeneic stem cell therapy, you can see how the COVID-19 clinical trial doesn’t necessarily fit into our current business plan. When we were approached about potentially licensing the program out to another company, we knew it was the right move for us. By out-licensing the allogeneic program including COVID-19, we will be able to refocus all our efforts on autologous stem cell treatments, as is the mission of PSC.
PSC Enters into Exclusive Licensing Agreement with Sorrento Therapeutics
So without further ado, we are very pleased to announce that we have entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Sorrento Therapeutics, a local biotechnology company. This licensing deal comes with an up-front payment of $3.5 million along with future milestones and royalty payments. The money will be used to further advance PSC’s autologous program with a concentration on orthopedics, pain, and traumatic brain injury. Read the recent press release for more information.