Trading in the shares of stem cell company Bonus BioGroup Ltd. (TASE: BONS ) was halted, after a first patient successfully underwent a bone implant developed by the company. Halting trading in a share because of the first patients in a clinical trial is an exceptional measure for medical companies, including those that make products just as innovative as those of Bonus BioGroup. Most companies announce such matters in an ordinary announcement to the stock exchange, or do not make any announcement at all. Following the announcement and unusual media coverage accompanying the event, Bonus BioGroup's shares rose 15% when trading resumed, pushing its market cap up to NIS 400 million.
Bonus BioGroup announced in August its intention of treating the first three patients in its clinical trial, and the announcement concerns the first patient treated with its product. The implant took place yesterday, so it is still unknown whether the implant was successfully absorbed and what the clinical results will be, meaning the effect on the patient's ability to walk.
The implant was created using innovative technology developed by Bonus BioGroup cofounder, president, and CEO Prof. Shai Meretzki (the other co-founder is chairperson Yossi Rauch). Stem cells from the patient's adipose tissue were harvested from the patient's body and sorted in a bone cells laboratory. They were grown on a scaffold designed in a form adjusted to the patient's bone. Bonus BioGroup says that the patient was in an accident, and his bone was set mechanically, but even after two setting operations, he still lacked bone, which restricted his activity, with a constant risk of a fracture in the remaining bone.
A long road to market
Bonus BioGroup still has a long way to go before its product reaches the market and is successful. The company has to show that the implants not only grow well, but are also absorbed well without rejection, and are integrated with the existing bone in a way that improves the patient's situation. It must also compare these results to those of a control group treated with the standard procedure. At the same time, it should be noted that the regulatory route for stem cell products originating in the patient's own cells is shorter when the cells come from an external source.
At the same time, it should be noted that the regulatory route for stem cell products originating in the patient's own cells is shorter when the cells come from an external source. It should also be noted that the potential market is very large. Bonus still has no revenue, and had NIS 2 million cash as of the end of the third quarter of 2017. The company's burn rate in the first nine months of the year was NIS 9.6 million, which was used for its current activity. Bonus BioGroup has previously said that it is planning a Nasdaq offering, but this plan has yet to materialize.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on December 20, 2017
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