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Aastrom To Refocus Research On Dilated Cardiomyopathy, Cut Staff

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ANN ARBOR — Aastrom Biosciences Inc. (Nasdaq:ASTM), a developer of patient-specific expanded multicellular therapies for the treatment of severe chronic diseases, announced a strategic change in its research and development programs to focus on the clinical development of its lead product, ixmyelocel-T, for the treatment of dilated cardiomyopathy.

Aastrom, which recently initiated the Phase 2b ixCELL-DCM clinical trial, previously received a United States orphan drug designation for the use of ixmyelocel-T in the treatment of DCM. As a result of the strategic change, Aastrom will stop enrollment and end the Phase 3 REVIVE clinical trial in patients with critical limb ischemia. In addition, the company is executing a corporate restructuring that will reduce staff and operating expenses by approximately 50 percent.

“We completed our strategic review of the CLI program, including an evaluation of the challenges in enrolling patients in the REVIVE study and a recent determination that the CLI program would not be supported by a partner in a timeframe that would impact the pace of enrollment of the study,” said Aastrom’s new president and CEO, Nick Colangelo. “Based on this review, we have decided that the best path to commercialization of ixmyelocel-T is to focus aggressively on the DCM program. We will begin treating patients in the Phase 2b ixCELL-DCM clinical study within the next few weeks. In our earlier Phase 2a DCM clinical trials, ixmyelocel-T was well-tolerated and efficacy observations were consistent with improved function of impaired myocardium in patients with DCM. In addition, preclinical results demonstrated that ixmyelocel-T was protective of ischemic heart tissue in a murine model of heart failure. These findings strongly support the decision to focus our resources on the development of ixmyelocel-T for the DCM orphan indication.”

The ixCELL-DCM trial is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2b study. Approximately 108 patients will be enrolled at about 30 sites in the U.S. In the study, ixmyelocel-T is administered via catheter-based injections to patients with advanced heart failure due to ischemic DCM. The primary endpoint of the trial is the average number of events per patient, which include all-cause mortality, all-cause hospitalizations or unplanned hospital visits to treat worsening heart failure. Patients will be followed for a total of 12 months.

“We appreciate the contributions of all of the participants in the REVIVE clinical program and continue to believe that ixmyelocel-T has great therapeutic potential to treat patients with CLI,” Colangelo said. “Our Phase 2b results demonstrated that ixmyelocel-T was efficacious and well-tolerated in patients with CLI. However, we have determined that the optimal use of our resources at this time is to focus on the development of ixmyelocel-T for DCM and other rare disease indications where clinical development may require smaller studies with lower costs and a shorter path to regulatory approval. We also plan to continue to explore the use of our proprietary Aastrom Replicell system to develop new cell therapy products for other areas of unmet medical need. This was a difficult but necessary decision, and I appreciate the diligence and support of my colleagues in our effort to define the best path forward for Aastrom. Based on all of these considerations, I believe this is the right course of action for our company and the best way to create sustainable long-term value for our shareholders.”

More at www.aastrom.com.

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