Stem cell stocks have been all over the map both for investors and for patients alike because most stem cell companies are generally small, still in the early stages, lack of products and come with high risk verses the rest of the biotech or pharma sectors. However, small cap stem cell stocks like StemCells Inc (NASDAQ: STEM), Neuralstem, Inc (NYSEMKT: CUR) and BioRestorative Therapies (OTCBB: BRTX) could be the best hope for the treatment of spinal cord injuries (something some 1.3 million Americans suffer from) or back problems in general (something most people will experience at some point in their life).
With that in mind, here is a quick look and update about the above three small cap stocks involved in stem cell treatments for spinal cord injuries or problems:
- StemCells Inc. Focused on the research, development and commercialization of cell-based therapeutics and tools for use in stem cell-based research and drug discovery, StemCells lead therapeutic product candidate, HuCNS-SC® cells (purified human neural stem cells), is currently in development as a potential treatment for a broad range of central nervous system disorders and chronic spinal cord injury. At the beginning of June, StemCells announced that Health Canada has authorized the Company to expand its Phase I/II clinical trial for chronic spinal cord injury into Canada (a Phase I/II trial is currently underway in Zurich, Switzerland). StemCells also announced an agreement with Lincoln Park Capital Fund, LLC, an institutional investor based in Chicago, where the former will have the right to sell to the later up to $30 million of common stock. Under the terms of the agreement (which can be terminated by the company at any time), Lincoln Park will immediately acquire $3.0 million in shares of StemCells common stock at a purchase price of $1.823 per share. On Thursday, StemCells fell 0.69% to $1.44 for a market cap of $56 million.
- Neuralstem, Inc. With patented technology enabling the ability to produce neural stem cells of the human brain and spinal cord in commercial quantities, Neuralstem received FDA approval to commence a Phase II NSI-566 clinical trial for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in April 2013 (the company’s Phase I trial was the first FDA-approved neural stem cell trial to treat ALS) plus the company received FDA approval to commence a Phase I NSI-566 clinical trial for chronic spinal cord injury in January 2013. In addition, Neuralstem is targeting other major central nervous system conditions with its cell therapy platform, including ischemic stroke, glioblastoma (brain cancer) and Huntington’s disease. Back in March, Neuralstem announced it secured $8 million in debt financing from Hercules Technology Growth Capital to fund the company's capital budget through late 2014. It was also noted in the press release that:
“We have multiple NSI-566 cell therapy clinical trials planned this year, building on our successful ALS Phase I trial, including the upcoming phase II ALS in the U.S.; both chronic and acute spinal cord injury in the U.S. and South Korea, respectively; ALS in Mexico, and stroke in China, in addition to completing the NSI-189/Phase Ib trial in major depressive disorder."
On Thursday, Neuralstem, Inc rose 1.46% to $1.39 for a market cap of 95.63 million.
- BioRestorative Therapies. A developer of medical procedures using cell and tissue protocols that primarily involve adult stem cells, BioRestorative Therapies products are designed to allow patients to undergo minimally invasive cellular-based treatments. On the spinal front, BioRestorative Therapies’ brtxDISC™ Program (Disc Implanted Stem Cells) is intended to offer a non-surgical cellular therapy for the treatment and relief of bulging and herniated discs by using stem cells to repair damaged tissue – thus relieving the back pain back pain suffered by significant numbers of Americans. Back in May, BioRestorative Therapies signed an agreement with Dexterity, Inc. to advance production of the company's brtxDISC™ Stem Cell Therapy Device. In addition and besides the brtxDISC™ Program, BioRestorative Therapies’ ThermoStem® Program is intended as a treatment for metabolic disorders (diabetes, heart disease, etc.) and obesity through the use of brown fat stem cells while its brtx-C Cosmetic Program is focused on proteins essential to combat the aging of skin. On Thursday, BioRestorative Therapies fell 11.76% to $0.75 for a market cap of $13.97 million.
The Bottom Line. Again, any small cap focused on stem cell treatments is going to be high risk. But should StemCells Inc, Neuralstem, Inc and BioRestorative Therapies come up with a potential breakthrough, these high risk small caps will produce high rewards for investors.