In 2008, mesenchymal stem cells were not gracing the front page of prestigious academic journals as they do today. Yet the founders of Regeneus knew differently. A company that began when three scientists who had completed their PhDs at the same time in Professor Keith Williams’ bioentrepreneurial lab at Macquarie University in the mid 90s, were quick to intuit the potential therapeutic benefits of mesenchymal cells, Regeneus has grown into a leader in the Australian regenerative medicine industry.
An ASX listed clinical-stage regenerative medicine company, Regeneus works to improve people and animals’ lives through the application of proprietary stem cell and immuno-oncology technologies. This internationally-recognised and innovative work is happening in our backyard: Australia. Better still, Regeneus is supporting the industry at large by contributing their expertise as a member of CCRM Australia’s industry consortium.
Regeneus develops novel allogeneic stem cell and secretion technologies to treat a spectrum of conditions that affect a great number of Australians, including osteoarthritis, cancer, and skin issues such as acne. “Our treatments cover a range of inflammatory diseases in musculoskeletal and autoimmune areas”, commented John Martin, CEO of Regeneus. “…and thus, is a broad platform regarding application.”
Osteoarthritis is the fourth-greatest cause of disability in Australia, making it the first therapeutic focus for Regeneus. The company’s “off-the-shelf” principal cell therapy product, Progenza, aims to control and alleviate the pain of those suffering from osteoarthritis and modify the progression of the disease.
Currently delivering positive trial results for knee osteoarthritis, Progenza is becoming a promising treatment option for osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders, with the potential to be used for other inflammatory conditions as well. Progenza, a treatment composed of culture expanded stem cells from a healthy adult donor’s adipose tissue that are not genetically altered, works to reduce inflammation and to promote the repair of damaged tissue.
Reflecting on 2017, Regeneus has plenty to be proud of with a year of successes including (but not limited to):
Successful Progenza STEP trial results for osteoarthritis
Progress on ACTIVATE cancer vaccine trial
Collaboration with Asahi Glass Co., Ltd. (AGC) on Progenza for Japan
For John and Regeneus, 2018 will have a strong focus on collaboration and clinical trial progression. Having delivered positive results for the Phase I safety trial in May 2017, Progenza met the primary endpoint of safety and tolerability. Demonstrating that patients treated with Progenza had statistically significant pain reduction and reduced cartilage degradation, in comparison to those treated with a placebo, there is a definite future ahead.
Going forward, Regeneus will continue to leverage the strengths of Australia and countries offshore. “There are many R&D benefits from being in Australia” commented John. “We have a strong biotech ecosystem for early stage commercial development. Phase 1 clinical trials can be undertaken easily in Australia and we have an attractive R&D tax incentive scheme. But things get tricky when you want to look at later stage clinical and commercial partnering as most of the key players are based in the Northern Hemisphere. Going forward, we would like to take our biotechnology to East Asia, particularly Japan, as it presents itself as one of the fastest growing sub-regions for regenerative medicine products globally. After that we can expand to other more traditional markets like the US and Europe.”
At CCRM Australia, we will be watching Regeneus closely and looking forward to seeing where 2018 takes them.