Glasgow's world first for ReNeuron stem cell trials

SHARES in tiny life sciences firm ReNeuron shot up more than 60 per cent following the announcement that its technology was behind the first clinical stem cell trials in the world.

The landmark trial, at Glasgow's Southern General Hospital, saw the successful injection of neural stem cells into the brain of an elderly stroke patient. The trial is designed to test the safety of the product.

Over the next year up to 13 patients will be given progressively higher doses of stem cells as part of the Pilot Investigation of Stem Cells in Stroke (Pisces) trial.

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Surrey-based ReNeuron was launched in 1999 following successful tests on brain-damaged rats which found that specially cultivated stem cells automatically migrated to damaged areas. The company, which won backing from Welsh biosciences investor Chris Evans, floated on AIM in 2000 raising 20 million from investors.

Professor Keith Muir, the Sinapse Professor of Clinical Imaging at the University of Glasgow, is the principal investigator for the trial.

Michael Hunt, chief executive of ReNeuron, said the trial was "a major and hard-won milestone" for the firm and a "significant milestone" in the development of treatment for stroke victims.

Navid Malik, head of life sciences research at brokers Matrix said the results of the initial trials "derisked" the company's shares.

Shares in ReNeuron added 2.95p to 7.85p.