Mesoblast today announced that it plans to evaluate its allogeneic mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) product candidate remestemcel-L in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States, Australia, China and Europe. 

The Company is in active discussions with various government and regulatory authorities, medical institutions and pharmaceutical companies to implement these activities.

Mortality in COVID-19 infected patients with the inflammatory lung condition acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is reported to approach 50%, and is associated with older age, co-morbidities such as diabetes, higher disease severity, and elevated markers of inflammation.1 Current therapeutic interventions do not appear to be improving in-hospital survival.1

Remestemcel-L has potential for use in the treatment of ARDS, which is the principal cause of death in COVID-19 infection.1 This is supported by recently published results from an investigator-initiated clinical study conducted in China which reported that allogeneic MSCs cured or significantly improved functional outcomes in all seven treated patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia.2

Additionally, in post-hoc analyses of a 60-patient randomized controlled study in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), remestemcel-L infusions were well tolerated, significantly reduced inflammatory biomarkers, and significantly improved pulmonary function in those patients with elevated inflammatory biomarkers. Since the same inflammatory biomarkers are also elevated in COVID-19, these data suggest that remestemcel-L could be useful in the treatment of patients with ARDS due to COVID-19. The COPD study results have been submitted for presentation at an international conference, with full results to be submitted for publication shortly.

Remestemcel-L is being studied in numerous clinical trials across several inflammatory conditions, including in elderly patients with lung disease and adults and children with steroid-refractory acute graft versus host disease (aGVHD).3-5  This product candidate is currently being reviewed by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for potential approval in the treatment of children with steroid-refractory aGVHD.

Remestemcel-L is being developed for rare pediatric and adult inflammatory conditions. It is an investigational therapy comprising culture-expanded MSCs derived from the bone marrow of an unrelated donor and is administered in a series of intravenous infusions. Remestemcel-L is believed to have immunomodulatory properties to counteract the inflammatory processes that are implicated in several diseases by down-regulating the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, increasing production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, and enabling recruitment of naturally occurring anti-inflammatory cells to involved tissues.

Intellectual Property
Mesoblast’s intellectual property (IP) portfolio encompasses over 1,000 patents or patent applications in all major markets and includes the use of MSCs obtained from any source for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and for inflammatory lung disease due to coronavirus (COVID-19), influenza and other viruses. Additionally, these patents cover Mesoblast’s manufacturing processes that yield industrial-scale cellular medicines. This IP position is expected to provide Mesoblast with substantial commercial advantages as it develops its product candidates for these conditions.

1. Liu Y et al. Clinical features and progression of acute respiratory distress syndrome in coronavirus disease 2019.  Medrxiv 2020;
2. Leng Z, et al. Transplantation of ACE2- Mesenchymal Stem Cells Improves the Outcome of Patients with COVID-19 Pneumonia[J]. Aging and Disease, 10.14336/AD.2020.0228
3. Kurtzberg J et al. Annual Meeting of the American Society for Transplantation Cell Therapy, 2020.
4. Chaudhury S et al. A Phase 3 Single-Arm, Prospective Study of Remestemcel-L, Ex-Vivo Cultured Adult Human Mesenchymal Stromal Cells, for the Treatment of Steroid Refractory Acute GVHD in Pediatric Patients. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2018; 24:S119–S290.
5. Kurtzberg J et al. Allogeneic human mesenchymal stem cell therapy (remestemcel-L, Prochymal) as a rescue agent for severe refractory acute graft-versus-host disease in pediatric patients. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2014 Feb;20(2):229-35.

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