Melbourne biotech Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) is attempting to commercialise a stem cell treatment known as remestemcel-L for conditions such as acute graft versus host disease, advanced heart failure and chronic lower back pain due to degenerative disc disease. Mesoblast acquired remestemcel-L from US-based Osiris Therapeutics in 2013.
Mesoblast’s proprietary process selects precursors and stem cells from the bone marrow of healthy adults, creating a master cell bank. This cell bank is then expanded into thousands of doses for off-the-shelf use, without the need for tissue matching.
Mesoblast debuted on the ASX in 2004 and reached a peak valuation of $2.5 billion in 2011. The company dual listed on the Nasdaq in November 2015, accompanied by a $US63m capital raising.
The company was dealt a blow in October 2020 when the US Food and Drug Administration declined to approve remestemcel-L for the treatment of acute graft versus host disease in children, instead asking for more data. Mesoblast is expected to dispute the FDA’s decision.
Mesoblast licensed remestemcel-L to Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis in November 2020 for indications other than graft versus host disease, a devastating complication from bone marrow transplants.