Kadimastem, an Israeli biotechnology company, has entered a collaboration with Merck Serono to provide drug screening for multiple sclerosis (MS) and potential other neurodegenerative diseases. Kadimastem will use its platform technology to screen compounds as potential new therapeutics and will receive an initial fee and additional payments based on certain milestones. Financial details were not disclosed.
The drug screening will be performed with cells that Kadimastem produces for its own cell-therapy products. Kadimastem’s drug-screening platforms comprise human cells that can help predict the potential a drug will have to impact different cell types.
Yossi Ben-Yossef, Kadimastem's chief executive officer, said, “The collaboration with Merck strengthens the already fruitful relationship between the two companies and is a vote of confidence by Merck Serono in Kadimastem and its innovative technology. The fact that we recently signed a drug screening contract with another pharmaceutical giant is an indication of the scientific merit and maturity of our technology. This reflects an increased understanding that we have the ability to significantly contribute to the drug development process and to shorten timelines.”
Michel Revel,Kadimastem’s chief scientist, said, “The decision by Merck to sign an agreement with us for drug screening shows the excellence of the technology we have developed for creating myelin-producing cells and nerve-supporting cells. We are convinced that the screening assays we are conducting using these cells are accurate, sensitive, and reproducible. Our technology enables discovery of chemical agents that could lead to a new generation of drugs for treating diseases that seriously damage the central nervous system, such as MS and ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.”