OCTOBER 26, 2012 – NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, Wibi+Works, LLC, an emerging biotechnology company based in the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, announced an award of $400,000 in Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to advance a stem cell-based therapy to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Developed by Dr. Aline Betancourt, this patent-pending technology produces uniform, anti-inflammatory mesenchymal stem cells (MSC2) that can be used as a short-term treatment for managing localized inflammation.
“Rather than being a regenerative stem cell product that becomes part of the healed tissue, these cell products can be used as a short-term therapy at no expense to the patient’s immune system,” said Dr. Betancourt. “This technology uses cues from nature to activate the cells into a specific pro- (MSC1) or anti-inflammatory (MSC2) program.”
In the past two years, the team of experts at Wibi+Works, LLC successfully completed tests in several pre-clinical models of disease. Using this funding, Wibi+Works will work in collaboration with Dr. Gary Firestein and Dr. Monica Guma at the University California San Diego to advance the technology for clinical use.
“It is currently estimated that rheumatoid arthritis affects over 1.5 million adults in the United States,” said Dr. Betancourt. “With this grant, we hope to make a significant impact by improving costs and quality of life for its victims.”
Wibi+Works, LLC is a privately held biotechnology company leading the development of new and improved adult mesenchymal stem cell-based therapeutics that treat human diseases associated with inflammation.
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