Melbourne-based biotech Mesoblast has updated on its rheumatoid arthritis stem-cell treatment MPC-300-IV, saying the candidate demonstrated dose-related safety and patient toleration improvements over a placebo in patients that failed to respond to widely used biologic drugs.
In a release, Australian Stock Exchange-listed Mesoblast said the mesenchymal precursor cell (MPC) results come from a 12-week Phase II study group of 48 rheumatoid arthritis patients.
In February, Mesoblast said the same therapy met its endpoints for primary safety and unspecified efficacy in the Phase II study without providing details.
In the latest release, Mesoblast said ACR20, a standard measure of pain relief in rheumatoid arthritis patients, was found among 55% in the study group who received infusions of 2 million cells per kilogram of body weight, compared to one-third in the placebo group.
“Importantly, ACR70, the most meaningful measure of clinical improvement, was achieved by significantly more of the high dose MPC-treated than placebo-treated patients at 12 weeks," the release said.
"The safety and efficacy results of this study are very encouraging and suggest that Mesoblast’s cell therapy has the potential to fill the major unmet medical need" for patients who cannot take biologic treatments," Allan Gibofsky, a rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, said in a statement.
In April last year, U.S.-based Celgene ($CELG) bought 15.3 million ordinary Mesoblast shares, or 4.5% as part of an investment and development deal for cancer and immune-inflammatory related diseases that covers stem cell product candidates.
In September of 2015, Mesoblast and Japanese partner JCR Pharmaceutical won approval to start sales of an off-the-shelf allogeneic, Temcell, in Japan.
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