Gamida Cell Receives $3.5M Grant from Israeli Government to Help Develop CordIn Therapy

Margarida Azevedo, MSc avatar

by Margarida Azevedo, MSc |

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The Israeli government has awarded Gamida Cell a $3.5 million grant to advance the development of clinical trials for CordIn, a therapy to treat sickle cell disease (SCD) and thalassemia.

The money, granted by the Ministry of Economy and Industry’s Israel Innovation Authority (IIA), will also support further development and sales of NiCord, a breakthrough product for blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.

The grant follows the recent closing of a $40 million financing round and the Jerusalem-based company’s recent expansion to the United States, after appointing Dr. Ronit Simantov as the company’s new U.S.-headquartered chief medical officer.

CordIn is Gamida’s candidate for the treatment of SCD and thalassemia, as well as bone marrow failure syndromes and genetic metabolic diseases. It’s a variation of NiCord, developed as an alternative to bone marrow transplants to treat patients with blood cancers who cannot find a donor with fully matched tissue. The product comes from expanding cells from the umbilical cord.

A bone marrow transplant is the only established cure for SCD. Due to the difficulties in finding a suitable match, only a few hundred patients can be treated this way.

Clinical trial data has been encouraging so far, showing successful and swift engraftment as well as the curing of disease symptoms in these hard to-engraft patients.

Particularly, interim results from a Phase 1/2 clinical trial (NCT02504619) appear to suggest that CordIn could effectively overcome the engraftment barriers of umbilical cord blood and has the potential to increase access to curative transplants for SCD.

“We are very pleased with the Israeli government’s ongoing contributions and support in helping to bring Gamida Cell’s very important products to market,” Gamida President and CEO Yael Margolin said in a press release. “The grant provides additional funding for the development and commercialization of NiCord, as well as our additional pipeline programs.”

The Phase 1/2 trial, launched in January 2015, marked the first time that a patient with SCD was transplanted with CordIn. The transplant took place at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California. The trial is still recruiting patients in the United States.

For more information, please contact Iddo Peleg in Israel at +972-2-659-5666 or [email protected]. Those interested can also call Jean-Hugues Dalle in France at +33 1 40 03 53 88 or [email protected].