Big Pharma Giant Johnson & Johnson (J & J; $JNJ) announced today a $12.5 million investment in stem cells & regenerative medicine via the small biotech Capricor ($CAPR) and the potential for the bet to go into the hundreds of millions for the heart disease program.
It was only 8 days ago that I made my stem cell predictions for 2014 and #3 on the list was “Big announcement from “Big Pharma” on stem cells or regenerative medicine.”
Chalk that up for the crystal ball of this blog at one for one so far for 2014.
According to the FierceBiotech today:
Later this week a little biotech named Capricor Therapeutics is set to begin a Phase II study of its new stem cell therapy with about $20 million in support from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).
J&J’s role could shoot up to over $300 million depending on how things go.
I’d call that big money. Investors seem enthused as well as the CAPR stock is up nearly 50% today at the close.
The Capricor adult stem cell product is CAP-1002, which is in clinical trial and consists of allogeneic cardiosphere-derived cells. The trial may enroll up to 274 patients, which is impressive.
FierceBiotech quotes Capricor CEO Linda Marban (pictured above) as follows:
“One of the reasons why I was motivated to work on this deal is because of the statement it makes in the field,” says the CEO. “It says, OK, somebody very large and powerful is taking a look at this technology and saying there’s something there, and that’s the most exciting thing for me.”
I’ll be very curious to see what else big pharma might have in store on the stem cell/regenerative medicine front.
Disclosure: To my knowledge, I have no financial interests in the companies discussed in this piece.