It was good news for Guildford, UK-based stem cell group ReNeuron last week after the company unveiled a promising set of six-month results as well as the receipt of two funding grants from the TSB.

The company, which is on the verge of pushing its first stem cell therapy into clinical trials for stroke, reported for the six months ended September 30 a 40% reduction in loss to £1.9 million compared to the year-earlier period, driven by a rise in sales and a reduction in operating expenses.

Revenues for the period grew from £6,000 to £14,000, representing royalty income from non-therapeutic licensing activities, ReNeuron said, while net operating expenses slipped down £1.1 million to £2.0 million on the back of the company’s ongoing cost reduction programme.

The group noted that it has substantially reduced its cost base and beefed up cash reserves to £2.1 million from £800,000 for the same six months of 2008, greatly enhancing its financial position and leaving it in good stead for a period of substantial progress over the coming year, according to its chairman Professor Trevor Jones.

Looking forward, ReNeuron anticipates that ReN001 - its “pioneering” therapy for stroke – will enter human clinical trials early next year as it has received both UK regulatory and conditional ethical approvals, and is hopeful that ReN009 for peripheral arterial disease in patients with diabetes will be tested in clinical studies in 2011.

TSB funding
Meanwhile, the company pleased shareholders with the news that it has won two grants under the Technology Strategy Board’s Regenerative Medicine Programme, rolled out earlier this year to help the best regenerative medicine businesses in the country overcome certain developmental challenges.

The funding – which totals around £170,000 – will be used by the company to complete the remaining steps required to start Phase I clinical trials of its ReN001 stem cell therapy for disabled stroke patients, as well as advance late preclinical activities with its ReN009 therapy for peripheral arterial disease, it said.

Expressing his delight at the news, Michael Hunt, ReNeuron’s chief executive, noted that “although the amounts awarded in this first competition are relatively small, the awards represent a gateway to further and more substantial grant funding opportunities next year, as well as important third party recognition of the potential of our two principal therapeutic programmes”.