Written by Jan Shultis
In 2023, Texas-based biopharmaceutical company Hope Biosciences, LLC cultured approximately 170 billion adult stem cells for use in dozens of disease and injury conditions, including in 18 FDA-authorized research protocols. It was a year that saw a new volume of peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations, and community engagements. Also in 2023, Hope Biosciences increasingly became a household name in skincare, with a partner’s very public launch of an exclusive skincare product that includes Hope Biosciences’s conditioned media as an active ingredient.
Now in its seventh year of operation, Hope Biosciences remains the only clinical-grade stem cell banking facility in the United States serving both adults and newborns. This year, Hope Bio welcomed clients from throughout the U.S., Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Philippines. 56% of bankers are under 60 years of age, which means more people are thinking about their healthcare needs, earlier. 51% of bankers are male, and 49% are female. 6% banked as families.
Hope Bio prides itself on banking for actual use. In 2023, treatments were manufactured for more than a dozen disease and injury conditions, including but not limited to COVID-19, “Post-COVID” Syndrome, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury (TBI), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), primary lateral sclerosis (PLS), cerebral palsy, stroke, spinal cord injury, polyneuropathy, muscular dystrophy, lupus, chronic musculoskeletal pain, severe osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, diabetes, numerous forms of cancer, and for palliative care. FDA-authorized work continues at multiple academic, hospital, and research locations. Of particular note, this year Hope Biosciences’ autologous adipose derived mesenchymal stem cells (HB-adMSCs) were authorized for use in a rare form of pediatric drug-resistant epilepsy, the first FDA authorization of its kind of which Hope Biosciences is aware.
When asked to share her best memory of 2023, CEO Donna Chang simply smiles.
“Everything,” Chang says. “It is a testament to our team that Hope Biosciences supports the level of FDA-authorized research that we do, in multiple locations and varied settings, as well as a rapidly growing Right to Try program. Mid-year award of the first federal grant to study cells cultured through our proprietary technology was staggering, and a moment many years in the making. Seeing Hope Bio’s conditioned media in cosmetic applications like Angela Caglia’s Cell Forte Serum is downright fun! This year, Hope Bio continued to advance accessibility to our cellular therapeutics through all avenues possible. That’s our mission, and we are meeting it.”
The federal grant Chang describes as “staggering” came in June, as a four-year, nearly $5 million clinical trial grant awarded to UTHealth Houston by the Department of Defense’s Office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) to evaluate if intravenously infused HB-adMSCs reduce chronic neuroinflammatory response to severe traumatic brain injury. Additional media outlets quickly picked up the story, such as Defense Post’s “US DoD Funds Stem Cell Research for Severe Traumatic Brain Injury.” The federally sponsored trial is scheduled to begin enrollment early in 2024, through trial sponsor UTHealth Houston.
According to grant reviewers, the DoD award is based on solid safety and treatment results from an earlier, Phase I study on traumatic brain injury conducted by Hope Biosciences at UTHealth Houston. Preliminary results from that 24-patient study (NCT04063215) were presented in May during the Cellular Therapies and Transfusion Medicine in Trauma and Critical Care (CTTACC) 2023 Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. In that trial, repeated intravenous administration of HB-adMSCs demonstrated that Hope Biosciences’ cells are safe and potentially reduce chronic neuroinflammation.
In addition to CTTACC, Hope Biosciences was active in JP Morgan’s 41st Annual Healthcare Conference in San Francisco in January, locally at Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce’s Health & Wellness Expo in May, and as a sponsor of August’s Ironman Texas. Several “pop up shop” days allowed customers to purchase innovative skincare and beauty products for cosmetic use right at the lab, including Wondercell gel. Hope Bio enthusiastically accommodated a notable increase in tour requests from local medical and nonmedical professionals, as well as healthcare-related non-profit groups newly learning about cell therapy and Hope Bio’s proprietary technology.
The Hope Biosciences team agrees with Chang’s use of the word “staggering” to describe major milestones of the year, citing Hope Bio’s “people-centric” approach as a primary driver behind their success.
“When I think of the year, I think of people,” shares Sherry Diers, RN. “Their stories are incredible. This year we had the privilege of serving a man with stage 4 cancer who received cells in conjunction with chemotherapy and not only survived the chemo regimen, he entered remission! We welcomed a young man from overseas who lost the use of his legs in a sporting accident; he, his family, and his physicians most trusted a U.S.-based organization and our technology to be part of his healthcare journey. And we’re talking about it! It is a thrill to see peer-reviewed publications sharing data about the safety and efficacy of Hope Bio’s cells, and then get to pick up the phone when people call asking to talk about what they read and their unique healthcare situation. 2023 was momentous, and I believe we did good work.”
Hope Biosciences’ 2023 peer-reviewed publications include:
· Functional recovery of a 41-year-old quadriplegic spinal cord injury patient following multiple intravenous infusions of autologous adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells: a case report (Frontiers in Transplantation, Dec 2023)
· Adipose-derived, autologous mesenchymal stem cell therapy for patients with post-COVID-19 syndrome: an intermediate-size expanded access program (Stem Cell Research & Therapy, Oct 2023)
· Multi-Dose Hope Biosciences-Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cell (HB-adMSC) Therapy for a Patient with Cerebral Palsy: A Case Report (International Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy, Oct 2023)
· Long-term, repeated doses of intravenous autologous mesenchymal stem cells for a patient with Parkinson's disease: a case report (Frontiers in Neurology, Sept 2023)
In addition to peer-reviewed publications, Hope Biosciences shared news through numerous media outlets and community engagements, including:
· In the fall, Chang joined David Dodick, MD, FAAN for an insightful conversation about the potential of stem cell therapies for brain disease and disorders, current treatments available and their effectiveness, and more, hosted by the American Brain Foundation. Click here to view the full webinar.
· High fashion met biotech when Chang joined luxury fashion icon Norma Kamali on Kamali’s “Invisible Threads” video podcast to talk about the potential of adult cell therapy to benefit us all, some of the science behind Hope Bio’s proprietary patented solutions, and where technology is going. Click here to listen to the full discussion.
· Early in the year, Chang sat down with the Vintage Contessa video-podcast for an exploration of Hope Bio’s proprietary technology, a general explanation of why Hope Bio’s cells are yielding the results that they are in FDA-authorized research, and talk about why accessibility to cell therapy matters to us all.
Most-read blogs of 2023 include:
In a highlight, Hope Biosciences’ cells are featured in a documentary released Thanksgiving Day by Hope Biosciences Research Foundation. Beyond Boundaries: A Journey to Walk Again shares an intimate look into one man’s journey with adult cell therapy in a multi-year, FDA-authorized study in spinal cord injury. Click below to watch the film and hear from his family, doctors, and more as he moves into new healthcare territory with real ramifications not only for him and his loved ones, but for the future of medicine in the U.S. and globally.
Hope Biosciences is pleased to increasingly see the company’s name in market watch reports, including in traumatic brain injury and Parkinson’s Disease. Toward the end of the year, Hope Biosciences was recognized as a “Houston Innovation Awards” finalist. Hope Bio’s nomination came in the “Life Science Business” category, honoring an innovative company within the health and medical industries designing a treatment or technology.
Hope Bio’s now 25-person team grew by two positions in 2023, adding a Quality Compliance Manager and a Research Scientist. These roles not only sustain Hope Biosciences’ production standards during rapid company growth, they also dramatically increase research and development capability for future innovation. Hope Biosciences continues to maintain an active presence in the Sugar Land area and Fort Bend County, and is proud of consistently adding jobs to the local economy.
Chang, Diers, and the Hope Biosciences team agree – 2023 was quite a ride, and they can’t wait to see what 2024 holds for cell therapy and the future of healthcare.
Hope Biosciences is a biopharmaceutical company developing adult stem cell therapeutics for a variety of clinical indications, and the only clinical grade adult stem cell banking facility in the nation serving both adults and newborns. Hope Biosciences occupies a unique position in the regenerative medicine space, noteworthy both for patented cell culture methods and effectiveness getting cells to patients through robust collaboration with academic and clinical research organizations. Hope Bio’s proprietary cell culturing process makes Hope Biosciences the gold standard in producing high volume, consistent, repeatable mesenchymal stem cells for clinical purposes. Hope Biosciences actively partners with organizations and teams in need of cellular products for in vitro, preclinical, and clinical projects.
Learn more about Hope Biosciences at http://www.hope.bio