Viacyte & Mesoblast present at CIRM Meeting

Allan Robins ViacyteAllan Robins of Viacyte (pictured at left–sorry for the fuzzy image) and Paul Simmons of Mesoblast presented this morning at the CIRM Grantee Meeting.

Both talks were outstanding.

Robins went first. He started by saying how Viacyte had a productive pre-IND meeting with the FDA last year.

I believe a target for them is to have IND in Q1 of 2014 and hopefully move to the clinical trials soon after.

I gotta say I love Viacyte’s technology. Having a frozen product that then can be recovered in culture for 3 days before loading into the capsule seems like a big plus.

Simmons also gave an interesting talk on Mesoblast’s status. Quite impressive.

I find it astounding just how big their pipeline is. They have perhaps as many as 10 products. They also have an impressive number of trials already ongoing based on allogeneic off-the-shelf products based on mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs).

Simmons posed a hypothetical question that people sometimes ask the company related to trophic factors made by MPCs, “Why don’t you just use the trophic factors that are secreted as the therapy”. Simmons’ reply was both humorous and encouraging, “These cells are quite intelligent!”

MPCs secrete just the right combo of factors as instructed by a given environment.

Both talks were great and I think these companies have strong potential to help thousands of patients within a decade.

Disclosure: I am not an investor in either company nor currently any company in the stem cell field.