Health Care Consortium: Setting The Stage For New Discoveries To Treat COVID-19
In 2004, The Livingston Group, representing Case Western Reserve University, led federal advocacy efforts on behalf of a consortium including the university, University Hospitals of Cleveland, the Cleveland Clinic, Athersys, and the Ohio State University to secure federal funding to found the National Center for Regenerative Medicine (NCRM).
Athersys, a founding member of the NCRM, is developing MultiStem®, a patented, adult-derived “off-the-shelf” stem cell product platform for multiple disease indications in the areas of inflammatory and immune, neurological, and cardiovascular disease.
MultiStem was recently designated “Highly Relevant” as a Potential Therapy for COVID-19 by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) which resides in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, HHS.
Biospace reports that MultiStem “is the only therapy in development that targets acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the pneumonia-like condition that leads to severe illness and death among COVID-19 patients, and is the only one ARDS therapy that has also received Fast Track designation from the FDA (https://www.biospace.com/article/barda-says-athersys-cell-therapy-highly-relevant-for-covid-19/).
The therapy has the potential make a significant improvement in patients’ lives and in the use of resources needed to treat COVID-19 and other respiratory conditions.” Initial studies in ARDS patients have shown improved short and long-term outcomes in those who received Multistem rather than placebo. Athersys is preparing to initiate a phase three clinical trial in patients with ARDS to confirm the efficacy and safety of MultiStem for the deadly syndrome and is working with others to ramp up production capability with the intent to provide “millions or more doses per year.”