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12:00 AM
Jun 04, 2012
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Expansionary plans

Gamida Cell raises $10M for StemEx for blood cancers, NiCord for sickle cell

Gamida Cell Ltd. closed on a $10 million inside round last month to strengthen its hand in partnering discussions for StemEx ahead of this year's Phase III data readout for hematological malignancies. The money also will be used to run a Phase I/II study in sickle cell disease of a next-generation cord blood product based on the company's expansion technology.

Roughly 60,000 patients with leukemia or lymphoma are eligible for bone marrow transplantation in the U.S. and Europe each year, but only 25,000 can find a fully matched donor. The alternative is transplantation with umbilical cord blood (UCB), which is more readily available but has a lower success rate and longer recovery time.

President and CEO Yael Margolin said StemEx improves on the latter option by using an ex vivo expansion process to produce a graft highly enriched with CD34+ progenitor cells, which are associated with better rates of hematopoietic recovery and lower risk of early transplant-related mortality.

The manufacturing process uses a high affinity...

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