Stem cell biotech company Bioheart ($BHRT) has had a rough 2015 so far.
Could this year be a decisive, negative tipping point for the company?
It has a number of clinical trials going, but from my view things seem increasingly uncertain.
An oddity amongst stem cell biotechs, Bioheart and its leadership have at times seemed to toy with what some might view as controversial projects. Kristin Comella, CSO of Bioheart, has played a major role in other ventures including in the past with the Ageless Institute, a stem cell clinic. Earlier this year, investors reportedly including Brenda Leonhardt (ex-wife of Bioheart founder, Howard Leonhardt) filed a lawsuit against Bioheart for millions in alleged unpaid debt.
Comella and Bioheart are also involved in what I view as concerning training of physicians in the use of a fat-based stem cell product that might be an unapproved biological drug from the FDA’s perspective. Comella provided some insights on Bioheart and the doctor stem cell training in a recent interview I did with her. She didn’t seem concerned with the FDA.
Bioheart has another puzzling venture, US Stem Cell Clinic, LLC, (“SCC”), which it describes in this way:
“a partially owned investment of Bioheart, Inc., is a physician run regenerative medicine / cell therapy clinic providing cellular treatments for patients afflicted with neurological, autoimmune, orthopedic and degenerative diseases. SCC is operating in compliance with the FDA 1271s which allow for same day medical procedures to be considered the practice of medicine. We isolate stem cells from bone marrow and adipose tissue and also utilize platelet rich plasma.”
Recent FDA draft guidances at the very least call into some doubt the compliance of some of the offerings of US Stem Cell Clinic, LLC. The FDA could back down on the requirement for the fat-based stem cell product SVF to be approved in advance as a biological drug, but then again it might not.
Investors seemed worried. Bioheart stock has taken a beating recently, down almost 60% in the last 3 months and almost 7% just today. Overall it seems that something has got to give soon.
Update: Bioheart because US Stem Cell, primarily a stem cell clinic firm and is currently subject to a permanent injunction by a federal court, pending appeal.
Disclosure: I own no stock in Bioheart or its direct competitors. This piece is not financial advice.