The European Union awarded an $8 million grant to cell therapy developer, Pluristem Therapeutics Inc., earmarked for a late stage trial in critical limb ischemia (CLI) program. The grant is part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program, which is its largest Research and Innovation program. The Phase III study of PLX-PAD in CLI will be a collaborative project carried out by an international consortium led by the Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT) under the leadership of Prof. Hans-Dieter Volk and Prof. Petra Reinke together with Pluristem Therapeutics.
The consortium, which will include leading European research institutes and clinical sites, will undertake an extensive scientific program in parallel to the trial, using in-depth immunological, endocrine, and molecular analyses to better understand the mechanism of action of PLX-PAD in CLI.
As previously announced, Pluristem’s PLX-PAD development program has been selected for the EU’s Adaptive Pathways project, whose goal is to shorten the time it takes for innovative medicines to reach patients with serious conditions that lack adequate treatment options.
“We are honored to have been awarded this Horizon 2020 grant designed to support the manufacturing and development of our cell products for potential commercialization. This grant is a vote of confidence and an expression of hope by the European Union that we may be able to provide a regenerative therapy for millions of CLI patients around the world. Pluristem is committed to developing PLX-PAD for patients with peripheral artery disease, and this grant will help us move towards our goal of rapid entry into the European and U.S. markets, given positive results,” stated Pluristem Chairman and CEO Zami Aberman.
The pivotal study for Pluristem’s PLacental eXpanded (PLX) PAD cells in the treatment of CLI is a double blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial in an estimated 250 patients with CLI Rutherford Category 5 who are unsuitable candidates for revascularization. Patients will be treated with 300 million cells or placebo, injected twice intramuscularly (IM), with the second dose administered two months after the first. The primary endpoint will be time to amputation and death.
Patients will be enrolled in clinical sites located throughout Europe and the U.S. Pluristem’s intention is to utilize this study as a single pivotal trial for regulatory approval in both regions. PLX-PAD cells are designed to address the $12 billion global CLI market.
The Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT) was founded as a cooperative research institution of the Charité University Hospital in Berlin, which is one of the largest university hospitals in Europe, and Germany’s largest research association, the Helmholtz Association. The goal of the BCRT is to enhance endogenous regeneration by cells, biomaterials, and factors which can be used to develop and implement innovative therapies and products. The primary focus of the BCRT is on diseases of the immune system, the musculoskeletal system and the cardiovascular system for which currently only unsatisfactory treatment options are available.