In a March 30 research note, Dawson James Securities analyst Jason Kolbert reported that three high-risk COVID-19 patients were recently administered Pluristem Therapeutics Inc.'s (PSTI:NASDAQ) placental expanded (PLX) cells to evaluate the product as a potential treatment of the disease's respiratory and inflammatory components.
"We are now seeing efforts from the leading regenerative medicine companies, including Pluristem, Mesoblast and Athersys, that these cell therapy treatments may help to soften the inflammatory cascade that initiates in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) patients and contributes to mortality," Kolbert commented.
ARDS results from fluid collecting in the lungs' alveoli, or air sacs, Kolbert explained. An infection in the lungs' lobes can result from the coronavirus or pneumonia, "triggering an inflammatory cascade that causes death."
Pluristem's PLX cells, allogeneic, placenta derived and mesenchymal like, stimulate the body's regenerative mechanisms, and thereby could possibly reduce COVID-19-induced pneumonia and pneumonitis, Kolbert wrote. "Previous preclinical 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," he added.
The three COVID-19 patients who received Pluristem's PLX cells have severe respiratory failure and are on ventilator support, noted Kolbert. The cells were dosed to them, in two hospitals in Israel, as part of a compassionate use program for the treatment of patients with the disease. This investigative program is a collaboration between Pluristem, the Berlin Institute of Health's Center for Regenerative Therapy and the Charité Hospital's Berlin Center for Advanced Therapies.
Kolbert also highlighted that the regenerative medicine firm has a late-stage clinical program in progress that Dawson James is watching, which is evaluating PLX cells in critical limb ischemia. Topline data from Pluristem's Phase 3 trial in that indication could be available as early as next year.
Dawson James has a Buy rating and a $12 per share target price on Pluristem. The current share price is about $3.60.[NLINSERT]
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Disclosures for Dawson James Securities, Pluristem Therapeutics, March 30, 2020,
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