SEATTLE, WA–(Marketwired – Oct 19, 2016) – Nohla Therapeutics Inc. (Nohla), a leading developer of universal donor cellular therapies for the treatment of patients with life threatening hematological disorders, announced today the signing of an exclusive supply agreement with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers in Gainesville, Florida. The agreement is specific to LifeSouth’s cord blood banking program and will provide Nohla with fully qualified clinical grade cord blood units that will become the starting material for the Company’s expanded hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell products.
“Establishing a supply partnership with LifeSouth marks an important step forward in advancing the use of umbilical cord blood in the treatment of patients with life threatening disorders. Gaining access to an inventory of qualified cord blood donors that are likely too small for use in cord blood transplantation, ensures that all cord blood donations, regardless of size, can be used to generate lifesaving therapies like the universal donor products we are developing at Nohla,” commented Dr. Colleen Delaney, a scientific founder and Chief Medical Officer of Nohla Therapeutics.
LifeSouth Community Blood Centers is a large regional blood center with operations in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Its cord blood banking program, LifeCord was the first FACT accredited program of its kind which began collecting and processing cord blood in 1998 for the purpose of providing clinical cures and basic research in the field of stem cell transplantation. LifeCord obtained FDA licensure for cord blood manufacturing in 2013 and currently collects over 8,000 cord blood units annually from 12 partner hospitals in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. However, with the rising Total Nucleated Cell (TNC) count requirements desired by transplant centers, the majority of banked units may never be used for clinical transplantation due to their lower dosage.
“We are privileged to participate in advancing the potential of cord blood to treat a host of diseases. Nohla’s expanded cord blood progenitor cell program will play a vital role in improving therapies and patient outcomes,” stated Nancy Eckert, CEO of LifeSouth Community Blood Centers.
The agreement between LifeSouth and Nohla allows LifeSouth to generate revenue and recoup some of its banking costs while providing Nohla with fully qualified cord blood units for pooling as starting material for the Company’s expanded cellular therapy programs. This supply model has the propensity to be a game-changer for the industry by offering a pathway to financial stability for public cord blood banks while reducing waste and providing a valuable source of stem cells for companies like Nohla to create life-saving therapies.
About Nohla Therapeutics
Nohla Therapeutics Inc. (Nohla) is a clinical stage company developing world leading cellular therapies. Leveraging technology developed over the past two decades at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Nohla’s lead product is an ex vivo expanded hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell therapy derived from umbilical cord blood that is used clinically without any requirement for HLA matching. The product is truly ‘off-the-shelf’ and is available to all potential patients on demand at the time of treatment. Hematopoietic stem cell transplant remains the only proven cure for many hematologic malignancies, and multiple clinical trials infusing Nohla’s lead product have demonstrated reduced time to neutrophil and platelet engraftment, decreased rates of severe acute graft versus host disease and decreased transplant related mortality, and best-in-class improvements in overall survival. This expanded hematopoietic cell therapy has also been safely used in patients following high dose chemotherapy to prevent life-threatening complications that result from prolonged neutropenia. Thus, in addition to treating many thousands of cancer patients each year who undergo high dose chemotherapy regimens, this product could be used to prevent and treat infectious complications in patients with neutropenia, regardless of cause.