South Korea’s Medipost is developing a new stem cell-based therapy to treat patients with acute respiratory failure or pulmonary fibrosis that may result from Covid-19, the company’s chief executive Yang Yoonsun MD, PhD told during a recent interview with Maeil Business Newspaper.
The company is now in a process to collect data from pre-clinical studies of an experimental stem cell therapy designed to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome, Yang said. The purpose of this treatment is to save patients who suffer from pulmonary damage that is also seen in some cases after coronavirus infection, she explained.
Pulmonology is the newest therapeutic area of interest for the 20-year-old Korean biomedical startup dedicated to the research and application of human umbilical cord blood (UBC), which is now considered a valuable source for stem cell-based therapies.
Dr. Yang founded Medipost in 2000 when she turned to the potential of UBC as a solution to limited bone marrow transplantation while she was working as clinical diagnostic professor at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul.
Medipost pioneered technologies and services to save the UBC of babies for future medical uses and has since maintained its leadership in the local stem cell bank market.
Medipost went on to develop UBC-derived mesenchymal stem cells as a treatment for the regeneration of organs and tissues of the human body, for example, bone, cartilage and ligament.
Cartistem is the company’s first commercial success based on these cells. It is indicated to treat knee cartilage defects as a result of degenerative osteoarthritis or repeated trauma. Clinical trials started in 2005 and marketing approval was granted in 2012. The company is now studying a single intra-articular dose formulation to treat patients with mild and moderate knee osteoarthritis. Other stem cell-derived candidates at clinical trial stages include Pneumostem, a preventive treatment for bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and Neurostem for Alzheimer`s disease.
The company is also active in exploring overseas markets. Phase 3 clinical trials of Cartistem are being prepared in the United States and Japan.
By Park Yoon-gyun and Minu Kim
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