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December 19, 2019updated 20 Dec 2019 10:31am

Pioneering cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease gains funding boost

Aspen Neuroscience earns funding for stem cell therapy from a group of venture capitalists.

An autologous stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease (PD), with a potential to alter disease progression, received a boost when the programme received a seed funding totalling $6.5m from a group of venture capitalist firms. The funding is likely to help the company in advancing the programme to different stages of clinical development. 

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Aspen Neuroscience aims to tackle the disease by using the patient’s own cells obtained via a skin biopsy and turning that into pluripotent stem cells that are then differentiated into dopamine-releasing neurons, which can be introduced back into the patient with the objective of replacing neurons that are damaged by onset of PD. The autologous approach is proposed to help in circumventing the issue of immunogenicity that is otherwise associated with an allogeneic approach. 

According to key opinion leaders (KOLs) that were interviewed for GlobalData’s report on Stem Cells in Neurology, the main consensus among these KOLs was in favour of an allogeneic approach of stem cell therapy compared to an autologous one due to the complexities associated with the latter procedure — namely, the logistics of getting the patient to a specialist centre for various stages of the therapy, followed by the need to process the cells according to principles of good manufacturing practices (GMP), and the time taken to complete the whole procedure. In that regard, Aspen will look to fine-tune bottlenecks that may be encountered throughout the procedure by leveraging machine learning tools and artificial intelligence, and by ensuring the final product is high-quality and can be consistently produced through a reproducible process. 

Current treatment options for PD offer only symptomatic relief for patients. As this particular therapy begins to advance into different stages of clinical development, the results from these studies are expected to be closely watched by all stakeholders, including patients and physicians, as are the implications of such a therapy in changing the current treatment landscape for PD.  

Related Reports

GlobalData (2018) Hot Topic Report: Stem Cells in Neurology, September 2018, GDHCHT012

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IPO activity all but stopped in 2020, as the investment community grew wary of the effects of COVID-19 on economies. No matter how deserving a business was of flotation, momentum was halted by concerns of when a ‘new normal’ of working patterns and trade would set in. Recently, sentiment has changed. Flotations picked up again during the second half of 2021, and now in 2022 the mood is decidedly optimistic. Business leaders have their eyes on fast rebounding economies, buoyant market indices and the opportunity once again to take their businesses public. As a result, global IPOs are expected to hit back this year. With GlobalData’s new whitepaper, ‘IPOs in Consumer and Retail: 5 must-include elements for your prospectus industry report’, you can explore exactly what is needed in the essential literature. GlobalData’s focus lies in the critical areas to get right:
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  • Consumer context
  • Industry environment
  • Competitive environment
  • Route to market
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