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Pluristem Wins NIH Backing for Radiation-Exposure Study

July 26 (Bloomberg) -- Pluristem Therapeutics Inc., a developer of placenta-based stem-cell therapies, will work with a U.S. National Institutes of Health unit to evaluate the company’s PLX cells for the treatment of radiation exposure.

Pluristem rose to the highest price in 18 months after saying the NIH’s allergy and infectious-disease division is giving access to its laboratories for the research. Studies will look at the treatment’s effectiveness in several versions of acute radiation syndrome, Haifa, Israel-based Pluristem said today in a statement.

Pluristem gained 3.2 percent to 14.45 shekels, the highest level since January 2011, at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv. That reversed a decline of as much as 5.4 percent before the announcement.

ARS, which occurs after exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation, can result in a number of illnesses, including damage to bone marrow that can lead to a severe drop in red and white blood cells and cause death, according to Pluristem. The company’s PLX technology derives cells from placental material, releasing growth factors that promote blood flow, wound healing and artery and vein development.

“The company needed the backing of a government body to carry on with their evaluation of the potential to treat radiation and that’s exactly what they did,” said Sabina Podval, an analyst at Leader & Co. Investment House Ltd. in Tel Aviv. “Now they have crucial access to the financing of large trials and access to a large quantity of patients exposed to radiation.”

Pluristem shares have advanced for seven consecutive days, the longest streak since January 2011.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Wainer in Tel Aviv at dwainer3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net

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