New World Laboratories Forges Ahead with Novel Regenerative Therapeutics

neuronsLast year, researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) announced that they had shown, for the first time, that adult neural stem cells could improve the memory of mice with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Mice with the disease performed significantly better on memory tests a month after neural stem cells (self-renewing cells found in the central nervous system and bone marrow) were injected into their brains. When trying to figure out how the cells worked, researchers were surprised to discover that only a small percentage of the injected cells had turned into neurons. Rather, the injected stem cells had secreted a protein that helped to create new neural connections.

Although neural stem cell research is a relatively new field, the findings of the UCI study may prove useful in the development of future stem cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. New World Laboratories (NWL), a biotechnology company developing therapeutic technologies for the regenerative medicine industry, is banking on a related theory: that cells that mimic neural cells may have beneficial properties as well. 

The Canadian company’s platform includes stem-like cells that behave like neural cells but are derived from the patient’s skin cells. They are designed to be low-cost and more potent than neural stem cells. The stem-like cells, under the product name NWL-NSC, could be used to treat stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.

NWL seeks to prevent degeneration and restore function in damaged tissue, particularly in the nervous system. Potential applications of the company’s technology include multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and diabetes. NWL’s technology platform also includes small molecule compounds that act to inhibit apoptosis (programmed cell death) without causing tumor formation and living implantable tissues that can be used in tissue replacement therapy.

The company’s platform also includes a biomaterial that can be used alone or with stem cells to promote wound healing. Market research firm Kalorama estimates that the global wound care market was $14 billion in 2009 and is likely to grow at 6 percent annually over the next few years. According to Kalorama, wound-healing products that result in shortened hospital stays and improved patient outcomes, ultimately leading to reduced medical costs, are most likely to succeed in the marketplace.  

NWL is currently at the preclinical stage; approximately $15 million has been invested in the development of the company’s IP portfolio. NWL is scheduled to present at the OneMedForum San Francisco 2011 in January. The conference will feature corporate presentations from dozens of up-and-coming healthcare companies. Investors will be able to meet one-on-one with company representatives. To learn more about the conference, visit http://www.onemedplace.com/forum.

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