More Financial Analysis Say Adult Stem Cell Research Companies Better

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 9, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 9, 2006

New York, NY ( — More financial analysts are saying that biotech firms that work with adult stem cell research are better prospects for investors than those working with embryonic stem cells. The news comes after lobbyists and lawmakers condemned President Bush for focusing federal taxpayer dollars on adult stem cell research.

Last week, reported on one investment advisor who said companies relying on adult stem cells are more likely to provide payoffs for investors.

Other a nalysts say that adult stem cells companies like Osiris, Cytori, Aastrom should be monitored by investors for possible buys because they are more likely to get therapies on the market than companies using embryonic stem cells.

"From a Wall Street perspective, adult stem cells are a much better investment," Stephen Dunn of Dawson James Securities, told CNN. "These are the guys who are going to be in the news in 2007 and 2008."

"Embryonic stem cell research hasn’t kept up pace with adult stem cell research," Dunn added. "Adult stem cell research is advancing so far you might not need embryonic stem cells. If the federal government is reluctant to put their money into it, then Wall Street is as well."

While embryonic stem cell research has seen numerous failures with animals and may be a decade or more away from producing any human therapies, adult stem cell research has already yielded dozens of treatments — some of which may be at the market within years.

The Baltimore-based Osiris Therapeutics initially offered stock on August 4 and already has a product on the market called Osteocel that helps rebuild damaged bones.

The company would have advanced further in promoting the product, CNN reports, if not for having a hard time finding enough donors of bone tissue to build up its stem cell inventory.

Thus, while some politicians clamor for more taxpayer dollars for embryonic stem cell research that may never help patients, funds for obtaining more bone tissue would help patients today.

Osiris has another adult stem cell product, Prochymal, which helps patients with a life-threatening affliction called Acute Graft versus Host Disease. The same drug is also being tested for use in treating Crohn’s disease.

Stephan Brozak, analyst for WBB Securities, told CNN he likes the product and reports he’s seen show patients have experienced "remarkable results."

The company is in the final stages of clinical trials and will soon be ready to submit the drug to the FDA in 2007.

Dunn tells CNN he’s bullish on another company, Michigan-based Aastrom Biosciences, which also develops an adult stem cell therapy dealing with regrowing bone tissue.

Meanwhile, the San Diego biotech Cytori Therapeutics uses adult stem cells from fat to rebuild damaged tissue. Via a liposuction technology called Celution, the company is taking the cells from a patient and reinserting them into the patient’s body at the point of the problem.

The process is also being used to help improve heart function in patients with severe coronary artery disease. That could be sent to the FDA for approval in 2008 and the liposuction procedure could be sent to the FDA next year.

WBB Securities’ Brozak says the FDA approval process for these new therapies may take longer because the science is newer, but he says these companies have a good shot at bringing the products to market.