Israeli regenerative medicine, Pluristem Therapeutics, has signed a collaborative agreement with BIH Center for Regenerative Therapy (BCRT) and the Berlin Center for Advanced Therapies (BeCAT) at Charite’ University of Medicine Berlin to target a potential treatment for respiratory and inflammatory intratissue complications caused by Covid-19.
The agreement sees Pluristem, which develops placenta-based cell therapy product candidates, expand its existing framework and research agreement and conduct a joint project evaluating the therapeutic effects of its patented PLX cell product candidates.
PLX cells are allogeneic mesenchymal-like cells that have immunomodulatory properties that induce the immune system’s natural regulatory T cells and M2 macrophages, and thus may prevent or reverse the dangerous overactivation of the immune system. Accordingly, PLX cells may potentially reduce the fatal symptoms of Covid-19 induced pneumonia and pneumonitis.
Previous pre-clinical findings of PLX cells revealed significant therapeutic effects in animal studies of pulmonary hypertension, lung fibrosis, acute kidney injury and gastrointestinal injury which are potential complications of the severe Covid-19 infection.
Clinical data using PLX cells demonstrated the strong immunomodulatory potency of PLX cells in patients post major surgery.
Taken together, PLX cells’ potential capabilities with the safety profile observed from clinical trialsinvolving hundreds of patients worldwide potentially position them as a therapy for mitigating the tissue-damaging effects of Covid-19.
“The collaboration with Charité researchers will allow us to expedite our programme to potentially enable the use of PLX cells to treat patients infected with Covid-19 that have respiratory and immunological complications,” said Yaky Yanay, Pluristem President and CEO of Pluristem.
“The fact that PLX is available off-the-shelf, combined with our ability to manufacture large scale quantities, is a key advantage in case a large number of patients may need respiratory support.
“The primary target is to prevent the deterioration of patients towards Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and sepsis. We intend to start the joint collaboration immediately, with an aim to bringing much needed treatment to a rapidly expanding global health threat.”
Prof. Hans-Dieter Volk, Director of the BCRT at Charite’ University Medicine Berlin, added: “Charite’s’ unique knowledge, which includes research and clinical expertise in the immunopathogenesis of viral infections and critically ill patients, provides us an accelerated framework in which we believe PLX cells can be explored as a potential therapy for patients infected with Covid-19.”