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BioCardia Announces FDA Approval of Its IND for NK1R+ Mesenchymal Stem Cells for the Treatment of Patients Recovering from Acute Respiratory Distress due to COVID-19

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BioCardia®, Inc. [Nasdaq: BCDA], a developer of cellular and cell-derived therapeutics for the treatment of cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Company’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application for BCDA-04, a proprietary allogeneic mesenchymal cell (MSC) population that is Neurokinin-1 receptor positive (NK1R+).

This allows BioCardia to initiate its First-in-Human Phase I/II trial in adult patients recovering from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) due to COVID-19, with trial initiation expected in the third quarter of 2022.

The first part of the clinical trial will evaluate increasing doses of the NK1R+ MSCs and the optimal dose will be taken to Phase II in a randomized study in adult patients recovering from ARDS due to COVID-19. “This investigational cell therapy is administered intravenously (IV) and follows a significant body of compelling clinical results by NIH investigators and peer companies,” said Ian McNiece, Ph.D., BioCardia’s Chief Scientific Officer. “After IV delivery, the cells migrate to the lungs for local therapeutic benefit. We expect the anti-inflammatory nature of these mesenchymal stem cells to have a positive impact in ARDS because of the interaction of the Neurokinin-1 receptors with Substance P, a neuropeptide that has long been known to be a primary mediator of inflammation in the lungs.  Our goal is to help recovering patients with ARDS due to COVID-19 recover faster and more fully, while avoiding longer term respiratory issues.”

“In addition to our critically important autologous cell therapies being studied for ischemic heart failure and chronic myocardial ischemia with refractory angina, the FDA’s acceptance of this IND for patients recovering from ARDS is an important milestone in the development of our allogeneic mesenchymal stem cell therapy platform and validation for its potential to provide therapeutic benefit beyond the cardiovascular system,” said Peter Altman, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer.   “Our ‘off the shelf’ MSC platform may have significant advantages over others in clinical development for multiple indications because the MSCs express the biologically important NK1 receptor which binds Substance P.  Our in-house clinical cell manufacturing is also expected to be an important strategic asset that enables rapid and cost-effective development. “

About ARDS

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) occurs when fluid builds up in the tiny, elastic air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. The fluid keeps the lungs from filling with enough air, which means less oxygen reaches the bloodstream. This deprives organs of the oxygen they need to function.  ARDS typically occurs in people who are already critically ill or who have significant injuries. Severe shortness of breath — the main symptom of ARDS — usually develops within a few hours to a few days after the precipitating injury or infection. Many people who develop ARDS don’t survive. The risk of death increases with age and severity of illness. Of the people who do survive ARDS, some recover completely while others experience lasting damage to their lungs1. Based on preliminary clinical reports on COVID-19, respiratory failure complicated by ARDs is the leading cause of death for COVID-19 patients.2   Despite multiple clinical studies, no pharmacological treatments have proven effective for ARDS.3, 4

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