This is a big development in the MSC field.
Osiris and Mesoblast are two major players in this particular subfield of the stem cell world so this deal, reportedly worth up to $100 million if specific milestones are reached in clinical trials in the future, will boost Mesoblast’s leadership in MSC-related clinical applications, although Mesoblast, led by CEO Silviu Itescu, refers to its cells “as “mesenchymal progenitor cells”.
Importantly, the deal includes the cellular drug, Prochymal, for the treatment of a transplant-related disease called “acute graft versus host disease”. The drug has not yet been approved by the US FDA, but is approved in New Zealand and Canada.
Presumably this means that Osiris is going to focus on other parts of its portfolio, but it’s not clear yet what all went to Mesoblast and what remains. Some are reporting that this deal means all of Osiris’ stem cell-related business will now belong to Mesoblast as FierceBiotech says for example: “Osiris exits stem cell business”.
How does this affect competitors Athersys (ATHX) and Pluristem (PSTI)?
In my new book on stem cells Mesoblast was one of just a handful of stem cell companies that I singled out as particular good citizens of the field.
Osiris stock is up almost 5% today so far and Mesoblast was up about the same amount on the ASX market so it seems investors see this as a win-win for the companies.