Advanced Cell Technology gets nod for human study, shares up 42% Print E-mail
By Vinny Cassano   
Monday, 22 November 2010 13:50

For years Geron Corp. (NASDAQ:GERN) has been the recognized as the leader in the development and advancement of embryonic stem cell therapies, but Advanced Cell Technology (ACTC.OB) – a small, California-based company whose stock is trading for about a nickel – announced news on Monday morning that could line this company up to grow and see share price appreciation.


Advanced Cell Technology has received the green light from US regulatory authorities to commence a study measuring the effectiveness of the company’s embryonic stem cell-based retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) program, which is intended to restore vision for those suffering from severe vision loss.

The trial is due to commence early in 2011.

The ACT authorization is only the second such trial approval by the FDA, the first being Geron’s treatment for spinal cord injuries. Early experimentation of ACT’s RPE program will be geared towards establishing an effective safety profile while treating Stargardt disease, with the intent of expanding treatment to additional vision-loss indications later on down the road.

Advanced Cell Gets FDA Nod For Phase I Trial Using Retinal Cell

In addition to the RPE program, Advanced Cell Tech is also holds a developing pipeline of treatments and patents that include the Myoblast program – a treatment for congestive heart failure which has already completed Phase I – and the hemangioblast (HG) program, under development to repair vascular damage.

I have been following ACTC for a long time as as a lower-priced and early-staged alternative play to GERN. The company's pipeline is in the very early stages of development, but the potential may be starting to line up with some of the bigger players in the sector, especially with the now green-lit RPE trial. True to their word, earlier in the year, the company had said that believed animal studies demonstrated an excellent safety profile for their RPE cell therapy and that they looked forward to commencing studies in humans.

With attention of this small biotech growing, and with a stock price that trades for literally for pennies, ACTC is definitely worth noting as a stock to watch. Advanced Cell Technology's product folio includes: a Myoblast program, an autologous adult stem cell therapy for the treatment of heart disease; the Retinal Pigmented Epithelial Cell Program for the treatment of diseases of the eye, including macular degeneration; and a Hemangioblast (HG) Cell Program for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer.

The treatments are far from market, but the increased exposure could attract some deep-pocketed partners and additional government money- which could minimize the threat of dilutive financing along the developmental path.

Retinal Pigmented Epithelial therapy is based on retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE) derived from human embryonic stem (hES) cells. Retinal Pigmented Epithelial therapy is being developed for the treatment of retinal degenerative diseases such as Retinitis Pigmentosa, Stargardt's disease and dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

A potential long term winner, in my opinion, with some short term potential for trading up built-in. As is the case with all speculative penny stocks, however, downside potential exists so do your due dilligence and keep an eye on ACTC and its developing pipeline.

The recent embryonic trial approval – only the second of its kind, to date – is a huge step forward for this company and the technology. Retinal Pigmented Epithelial therapy is based on retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE) derived from human embryonic stem (hES) cells. Retinal Pigmented Epithelial therapy is being developed for the treatment of retinal degenerative diseases such as Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy (SMD) (one of the most common forms of juvenile macular degeneration in the world), Retinitis Pigmentosa,and dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

 Vinny also authors the popular stock investing blog VFC's Stock House.

Disclosure: Long ACTC




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