TUCSON, Ariz., April 21, 2013 — The Muscular Dystrophy Association announced today that Fate Therapeutics is a “silver” sponsor of the 2013 MDA Scientific Conference, “Therapy Development for Neuromuscular Diseases: Translating Hope into Promise,” in Washington, D.C., April 21-24.
Fate Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company based in San Diego, specializing in developing innovative therapeutics based on its expertise in adult stem cell biology. MDA has provided funding to support development of a protein known as WNT7a, which has been demonstrated to drive an expansion of the satellite stem cell population and facilitate muscle regeneration, resulting in significant functional improvement in preclinical models of muscular dystrophy.
As such, the ongoing development of a WNT7a-based therapy by Fate Therapeutics may hold promise for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) and other muscular dystrophies.
“The annual MDA conference provides professionals with the opportunity to exchange ideas and share perspectives on the newest developments in neuromuscular disease research and emerging therapeutic intervention strategies,” said Fate Therapeutics President and Chief Executive Officer Christian Weyer, M.D., M.A.S. “This is a very promising time in neuromuscular research, and MDA fulfills a unique role in supporting breakthrough science and therapeutic innovation.”
About 500 scientists, many of whom are at the vanguard of neuromuscular disease research, will attend the conference and present their newest findings about Duchenne muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, ALS and additional neuromuscular diseases. Fueled by rapidly evolving biotechnology practices, an unprecedented number of new potential disease therapies have been developed.
“Five years ago, this meeting couldn’t have happened,” said MDA Vice President of Research Jane Larkindale. “Advances in biomedical research are moving quickly, and we now have promising new paths for treatment development. Our conference highlights projects from early-stage therapeutic targets through to clinical trial results. MDA appreciates the support Fate Therapeutics is providing for this conference. We have been funding muscle disease research for more than 60 years, and the progress made in the development of WNT7a analogs is encouraging to us and to MDA families.”
In addition to the academic scientists who will attend the meeting, MDA is bringing together professionals from government, industry and the nonprofit sector to join the discussion about therapy development for neuromuscular disorders.
Conference co-chairs are: C. Frank Bennett, senior vice president for research at Isis Pharmaceuticals; and Eric Hoffman, director of the Research Center for Genetic Medicine at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
About Fate Therapeutics Inc.
Uniquely positioned at the intersection of stem cell science and orphan disease, Fate Therapeutics is pioneering the discovery and development of adult stem cell modulators in pursuit of innovative therapeutics with the potential to cure or transform the lives of patients with rare life-threatening disorders. The company’s lead program, ProHema, an innovative cord blood-derived cell therapy containing ex-vivo pharmacologically-modulated hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), is currently in phase 2 testing in patients with leukemia who are undergoing hematopoietic transplantation.
The company plans to pursue clinical evaluation of pharmacologically-modulated HSCs in patients with rare genetic disorders, an area of tremendous unmet medical need in which the curative potential of cord blood transplantation is well-recognized. In addition, Fate Therapeutics is developing proprietary WNT7a-based protein therapeutics that have shown efficacy in preclinical models of muscular dystrophy. To advance its discovery efforts, the company applies its award-winning, proprietary, induced pluripotent stem cell technology to generate rare cell populations and model disease. Fate Therapeutics is headquartered in San Diego, Calif., with a subsidiary in Ottawa, Canada. For more information, please visit fatetherapeutics.com.
MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to finding treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education.
In addition to funding more than 250 research projects worldwide, MDA maintains a national network of 200 medical clinics; facilitates hundreds of support groups for families affected by neuromuscular diseases; and provides local summer camp opportunities for thousands of youngsters living with progressive muscle diseases.