On Tuesday, May 23 at 10:30 AM, James Sherley, Director of Asymmetrex, will have an ideal audience for introducing the advance in stem cell medicine that his company has recently achieved in collaboration with its partner, AlphaSTAR Corporation. Tuesday will be the second day of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine’s first partnering conference, Cell & Gene Exchange 2017. In addition to his formal talk, Sherley will meet with interested companies in one-on-one partnering sessions to introduce them to the many advantages that Asymmetrex’s AlphaSTEM Test service offers.
Asymmetrex and AlphaSTAR partnered to develop the first method for specific counting of adult tissue stem cells. The AlphaSTEM Test is the result of the integration of Asymmetrex’s expertise in the unique cell production behavior of tissue stem cells and AlphaSTAR’s cutting-edge methods in computational simulation. By a proprietary analysis of simple cell growth data from cultures containing adult tissue stem cells, the AlphaSTEM Test technology can determine, with a high degree of precision, the number and behavior of tissue stem cells in complex cell preparations from many different types of human tissues.
For stem cell therapy companies, the AlphaSTEM Test offers the ability to determine stem cell dose for the first time. Currently, the only clinical test available for estimating whether treated patients have received sufficient stem cells is the CD34 marker for blood stem cells. However, because it does not give a specific blood stem cell dose, CD34 has poor sensitivity and specificity. The weak efficacy that CD34 does provide is limited primarily to blood stem cells. The AlphaSTEM Test offers the ability to determine specific dosing for stem cells from many different tissues.
Gene therapy and gene editing companies that genetically engineer blood stem cells – called hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) – could also benefit from the AlphaSTEM Test service. HSCs are the targets for gene treatments because they are the only blood cells that are naturally maintained in the body for the long periods required for stable genetic cures. Because human HSCs are rare cells even in the most enriched clinical preparations, their starting number and their remaining number, respectively before and after genetic engineering procedures, are important data for optimization of the engineering and ensuring that sufficient modified HSCs are available for effective treatment.
Though minor participants in the conference, Asymmetrex will also address pharmaceutical companies. Asymmetrex has established that the AlphaSTEM Test can be employed to identify stem cell-active agents. The test has been validated with known stem cell-toxic drugs and stem cell-activating compounds. The current main service focus for Pharma is stem cell-toxic drug candidates. Stem cell toxicity causes chronic organ failure, a property that generally means a failed drug. Twenty to 30 percent of all drugs fail in Phase II and Phase III clinical trials due to intolerable toxicity. About half of these failures are due to chronic organ failure, which costs the average large pharmaceutical company $100-300 million each year. Asymmetrex’s AlphaSTEM Test could identify many of these future failures much earlier, even before animal studies, giving substantial savings to pharmaceutical companies in real dollars and patient safety. The impact would be even greater for drugs that did not manifest chronic organ failure until after they were in the marketplace.
Asymmetrex launched the AlphaSTEM Test contract service in September 2016. Thus far, adoption of the new technology has been measured. Asymmetrex’s presentation at Cell & Gene Exchange 2017 is part of the company’s mounting marketing campaign to increase awareness of the new technology in relevant fields. In addition to marketing to prospective clients, the company is discussing potential distribution partnerships with established contract research and contract medical organizations. Director Sherley is optimistic that “this is a technology that will become a must have for everyone and anyone working with adult tissue stem cells. If you are investigating them, treating with them, testing drugs with them, or supplying them, how could you pass up now knowing how many they are?”
Asymmetrex, LLC is a Massachusetts life sciences company with a focus on developing technologies to advance stem cell medicine. Asymmetrex’s founder and director, James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D. is an internationally recognized expert on the unique properties of adult tissue stem cells. The company’s patent portfolio contains biotechnologies that solve the two main technical problems – production and quantification – that have stood in the way of successful commercialization of human adult tissue stem cells for regenerative medicine and drug development. In addition, the portfolio includes novel technologies for isolating cancer stem cells and producing induced pluripotent stem cells for disease research purposes. Currently, Asymmetrex’s focus is employing its technological advantages to develop and market facile methods for monitoring adult stem cell number and function in stem cell transplantation treatments and in pre-clinical assays for drug safety.