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Stem Pharm, Inc. has been awarded a $1.7 million SBIR grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to optimize its induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived model of the central nervous system for drug discovery and toxicology applications. Stem Pharm’s model fills a commercial need to accurately reflect the complexity of cell types and important cell-to-cell interactions in the developing brain. It is the most comprehensive commercially available neural model and is particularly differentiated by the ability to study neuroinflammation, important for toxicology studies and implicated in devastating neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Stem Pharm’s neural model is expected to add tremendous value in neural toxicology screening and may help reduce the reliance on animal testing for the biopharmaceutical and industrial chemical industries. U.S. government agencies, including the NIH and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are supporting efforts to better model human physiology with a goal to eventually eliminate testing on animals.  With Stem Pharm’s neural models, drug candidates and chemicals can be tested for harmful effects in a biologically relevant and scalable system that is cost-effective and animal-free.

“There is tremendous interest in these New Approach Methods and we are thrilled that the NIH sees the commercial and societal benefits of Stem Pharm’s technology to the point that they have supported our development efforts” said Steven Visuri, PhD, CEO of Stem Pharm.

With this NIH grant, Stem Pharm will optimize the technology and produce validation data necessary for successful market commercialization.