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12:00 AM
 | 
Jan 07, 2008
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

ARS fallout

Osiris Therapeutics Inc. hit the jackpot last Friday, winning a $224.7 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop and stockpile the company's Prochymal to treat acute radiation sickness (ARS). But competitor Cleveland BioLabs Inc. - which had applied for the contract but wasn't chosen - believes its CBLB502 has practical advantages that will give it an edge in future contracts.

C. Randal Mills, Osiris' president and CEO, told BioCentury that about two years ago the company decided to pursue the formulation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to treat ARS after realizing the syndrome presents pathologies similar to graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), for which the compound is in Phase III testing.

"Both diseases result in a range of similar symptoms, from GI and dermal injury to damage to the hematopoietic system," he said.

Mills also noted that both diseases are mediated through inflammatory pathways, namely the activation and proliferation of T cells, which in turn release cytotoxic cytokines, including interleukin-2 (IL-2), tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha and interferon (IFN) gamma.

Mills said MSCs have cell surface receptors specific to TNF alpha and...

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