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Collaboration to advance combined efforts in neurodegenerative diseases.

NESS ZION A, Israel, August 4, 2014 -- Israeli biotechnology company Kadimastem (TASE: KDST) reports that it has signed a collaboration agreement with Merck to carry out drug screening in the neurodegenerative diseases space for multiple sclerosis (MS), and potential other neurodegenerative diseases.

Kadimastem will use its platform for Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck, for the screening of new compounds as potential new therapeutics.

The company has developed a technology to differentiate stem cells into oligodendrocytes, cells required in the brain to produce myelin, the insulation for the neural wiring.

In MS, oligodendrocytes are destroyed by the immune system. Kadimastem is also equipped to generate stem cell-derived astrocytes. Astrocytes are neural supporting cells shown to be involved in neurodegenerative diseases.

Within the collaboration, Kadimastem will screen compounds in proprietary assays based on these myelin-producing cells and differentiated nerve supporting cells, with the aim of identifying compounds with potential efficacy in MS, and potential effect in other neurodegenerative diseases.

The transaction is consistent with Kadimastem's strategy to produce short term revenues and to develop closer ties with large international phannaceutical companies for drug screening projects.

Drug-screening will be performed with cells that Kadimastem produces routinely for its own cell-therapy products. Kadimastem's drug-screening platforms comprising human cells can help to predict the potential a drug will eventually have to impact different cell types including oligodendrocytes.

Merck will pay Kadimastem an initial fee, and additional payments which are contingent on the achievement of certain milestones. Further financial details are not disclosed.

The collaboration agreement follows a previous agreement between both companies from 2012, and the signature of a memorandum of understanding in 2013 aimed at using Kadimastem's screening platform to characterize new compounds that may lead to next generation neurodegenerative disease therapeutics.

Contact: http://www.kadimastem.com

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Title Annotation:Strategic Alliances
Publication:Stem Cell Business News
Date:Aug 11, 2014
Words:295
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