Fate jumps ahead of Novartis in stem cell race

Tiny Fate Therapeutics appears to have taken an early lead in the race with pharma giant Novartis to create a new stem cell therapy that can pump up the body's supply of blood-generating stem cells and rebuild immune systems.

Scientists at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute are working with Fate on a clinical trial for FT1050 that started two months ago. Switzerland's Novartis may not get into the clinic until next year with its stem cell therapy. Novartis is working with researchers at the University of Minnesota.

"If the Novartis or Fate drugs are shown to be efficacious, cost-effective and reproducible, it would be fantastic and could save a lot of lives," says Dennis Coffer, medical director for the National Marrow Donor Program.

"The mission of Fate Therapeutics is to develop small molecules and biologics that modulate adult stem cells within the body for regenerative medicine," explained Paul Grayson, president and CEO of Fate Therapeutics, back in May. "As our first SCM clinical candidate, FT1050 represents the initial step in our approach--using a small molecule to treat cells ex vivo but creating an in vivo regenerative effect. With FT1050, we are trying to affect stem cell biology in the body, improving the reconstitution of a patient's blood and immune system."

- read the Bloomberg report
- check out the press release from Fate