Joseph Wagner sees most cell-therapy companies offering little more than a bag of cells.
His company will give the bag a little direction.
Cell Targeting is developing technology that can point stem cell therapies to specific areas of the body. Among the many challenges in cell therapy is direction: not enough of the stem cells are getting to the tissues that needs treatment (…)
Currently a stem cell therapy can help different parts of the body. That attracts more customers, but doesn’t do much when the company wants to differentiate its product and charge a different price.
A stem cell therapy tweaked by Cell Targeting can become unique because it can be directed to different areas of the body to treat different afflictions, Wagner said.
“We make them distinct by our delivery,” Wagner said. “We have the ability to make those bags of cells into unique cell-therapy products.”
Cell Targeting’s product is a peptide, a tiny piece of protein, that coats stem cells and guides them to damaged tissue. The coating peels away like paint after it gets to its target and allows the therapy to do its work (…)
But Cell Targeting’s biggest competitor may be science itself and the research underway to better understand how stem cells work. It’s likely that stem cells on their own can find their way “home” to specific tissues, Gerson said.
“We just don’t know what those Velcro connections are,” Gerson said.
Wagner said the idea that stem cells head home is a bit of “voodoo.” Only a single-digit percentage of cells return to their point of origin — and there’s no evidence they return in a larger percentage to damaged tissues, he said. Also, Wagner pointed out that in many cases, cell therapy companies don’t want stem cells to go “home” but instead to another tissue that the stem cell can also heal (…)