New Orleans BioInnovation Center’s Client Awarded $400,000

The New Orleans BioInnovation Center announced today that client Wibi+Works, an emerging biotechnology company, received $400,000 to advance stem cell therapy for treating rheumatoid arthritis. The company received the Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Wibi+Works will use the funding to advance this technology in conjunction with Dr. Gary Firestein and Dr. Monica Guma at the University California San Diego.

Dr. Aline Betancourt developed this breakthrough treatment that can potentially replace current therapies because it has a much smaller effect on patient’s immune systems. The patent-pending technology produces an, “anti-inflammatory mesenchymal stem cells (MSC2) that can be used as a short-term treatment for managing localized inflammation.”

“Rather than being a regenerative stem cell product that becomes part of the healed tissue, these cell products can be used as a short-term therapy at no expense to the patient’s immune system,” said Dr. Betancourt. “This technology uses cues from nature to activate the cells into a specific pro- (MSC1) or anti-inflammatory (MSC2) program.”

“It is currently estimated that rheumatoid arthritis affects over 1.5 million adults in the United States,” said Dr. Betancourt. “With this grant, we hope to make a significant impact by improving costs and quality of life for its victims.”

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