Nov 12, 2021

VetStem Issued New Patent

Posted by Bob under Stem Cell Therapy, VetStem

VetStem is happy to announce that we were recently issued a new patent that covers treating veterinary and human patients with an adipose-derived stem cell preparation. From the beginning, VetStem CEO, Dr. Bob Harman, has invested heavily in patent protection of the technology we are developing. He believes it is a crucial way to strengthen the company’s intellectual property in the rapidly developing field of regenerative medicine.

Though we have a large portfolio of patents, this specific patent is key in that it broadens the coverage to any disease in any mammal that is treated using VetStem’s methods of preparing the adipose stem cell preparation. The preparation methods include processing using mechanical, enzymatic, and/or ultrasonic energy. The disease coverage is broad including inflammatory diseases or disorders, cardiovascular diseases, nervous system diseases, tumors, demyelinating diseases, digestive system diseases, endocrine system diseases, reproductive system diseases, hemic and lymphatic diseases, immunological diseases, mental disorders, musculoskeletal diseases, neuromuscular diseases, metabolic diseases, skin and connective tissue diseases, urological diseases, and wounds.

In an effort to build mutually beneficial relationships with other regenerative medicine companies, we have successfully negotiated royalty-bearing licenses with multiple human and veterinary stem cell companies. One of these companies is our own human stem cell company, Personalized Stem Cells (PSC). PSC licenses our patent portfolio for use in their own stem cell clinical trials.

VetStem was the first company to provide adipose-derived stem cell services to veterinarians in the United States and Canada and has provided those services for over 20,000 animal patients. We strive to stay at the forefront of this ever-developing field and continue to research new uses for which stem cells may be beneficial. A few of our current clinical research programs include feline renal disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and canine back pain. If you think your pet may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to find a VetStem provider near you.

Share
Jul 16, 2021

Meet a Few VetStem Horses for National I Love Horses Day

Posted by Bob under VetStem

July 15th is National I Love Horses Day. To show our love of horses, we thought we’d share some of the VetStem employee horses in this week’s blog.

As most of you know, VetStem Cell Therapy was used in horses first, followed by dogs and later, cats. The first ever VetStem patient was a racehorse that was treated for a tendon injury that would have normally been career-ending. Since then, over 6,000 horses have had their stem cells processed at VetStem.

Horses most commonly receive stem cell treatment for tendon and ligament injuries, as well as joint issues. But some have received VetStem Cell Therapy for other conditions such as exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage and uveitis under our clinical development department. But that’s enough from us. Now meet some of our employees’ horses!

Libby is owned by our Safety and Technical Services Veterinarian, Dr. Amber Vibert. According to Dr. Vibert, Libby is the trifecta- she’s got brains, brawn, and beauty. Libby has only been with Dr. Vibert for just over a month. You may remember last week’s blog about Dr. Vibert’s horse Valor, who unfortunately had to be put down earlier this year. Dr. Vibert describes Valor as the sweetest boy, especially with children.

Cheddar and Joey are owned by our customer service manager, Veronika Graydon. See what Veronika has to say about her beloved horses: Chester aka Cheddar is my daughter’s retired Criollo polo pony from Uruguay. He is a sweet 27-year-old soul who I think is truly grateful for his now very easy life. Joey is my 14-year-old Friesian Percheron mare who I have had since she was born. She has no idea that she is a giant horse (no concept of personal space) and will do anything I ask of her with a willing spirit. They are BFFs and provide me with daily comic relief.

Share
Jul 9, 2021

Horse Receives VetStem Cell Therapy for Chronic Hoof Infection

Hello VetStemmers! It’s Dr. Amber Vibert here and I’ve taken over the blog again. In honor of it being National Farriers Week, I’d like to share with you a horse hoof case that is near and dear to my heart. The patient was my own 25-year-old, Thoroughbred horse named Valor. Valor came to me as a senior 5 years ago. He had some mild arthritis in his hocks (rear limb “ankles”), and he had back and neck stiffness that likely came from being trained as a racehorse and then a show horse in his early years. However, the condition for which I treated him with VetStem Cell Therapy remains somewhat of an enigma.

Profile shot of the head of Valor, a brown, thoroughbred horse with reins
Valor

Valor’s Hoof Infections

About 3 years into owning him, he developed a deep, severe, focal infection on the underside of both of his rear hooves. Each area measured about the size of a dime in diameter and were deep enough to expose the underlying soft tissue that bled really easily when touched. The infection and inflammation extended into his heels and was super painful for him. Around this time, he also displayed reduced healing capacity for scrapes and cuts on his limbs. Now, older horses are prone to delayed healing and weaker immune system responses as a result of certain metabolic conditions, but sometimes it is the natural progression of the aging process, not unlike elderly humans. So, the first thing I did was I had him examined by his equine veterinarian. Yes, I’m a veterinarian, but my 16 years of clinical practice prior to joining VetStem was working with small animals. Horses are very different from dogs and cats!

Diagnostics and Treatments

We took x-rays of his hooves and found no evidence of a foreign body (i.e., no nails or other penetrating objects) and no draining tracts. We tested Valor for metabolic diseases, immune system diseases and infectious diseases, all of which were negative. I always made sure his living area was clean and dry. We examined and adjusted his nutrition to make sure it was balanced and providing him with appropriate ratios of proteins, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. We also took culture swabs of the focal lesions in his hooves and found a particular type of bacteria in those lesions that could be a factor. But honestly, my veterinarian was stumped as to the underlying cause. I got a second and third opinion with other veterinarians and each had their theories, but none could pinpoint a definitive cause either. So, I treated him for months with an intense regimen of oral and topical antibiotics as well as pain meds in addition to the prescription anti-inflammatory medication he was already taking for his arthritis.

Of course, I got his farrier involved as well. He too, was unsure of the nature of these wounds, as he had never seen anything like it. We tried different podiatric options such as therapeutic shoeing, hoof pads, hoof packing, regular shoeing, and no shoeing at all. I spent countless hours as directed, caring for his feet- picking, washing, soaking, medicating etc. I used Platelet Therapy locally a couple of times- I saturated medical cotton pads with his platelet concentrate (created through the Genesis CS-2 Platelet Rich Plasma Kit) and packed it into the deep lesions. It helped for a short period of time, but it was too labor intensive to do consistently. Despite all of his treatments and the heroic efforts of his wonderful farrier, the improvement was minimal.

Treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy

Then in December 2020 I collected fat tissue from an area on his rump for stem cell processing. He didn’t have a huge cell yield, so we only had one stem cell dose to start with and the rest we grew in cell culture to create more doses. He received his first injection immediately following processing via a regional perfusion (RP) injection in his lower right rear leg. Regional perfusion is an injection into a vein with a tourniquet around the limb above the injection site. The tourniquet stays on for about 30 min after the injection to allow the cells (or other drugs) to be delivered to, and stay concentrated in, all parts of the limb below it. Then approximately 4 and 8 weeks later he received doses in both rear legs, also by RP injection. 

The rationale for using stem cell therapy was to reduce inflammation, reduce pain, enhance his immune system’s ability to heal, and provide antibacterial/antifungal properties to his hooves. The only other treatments he received during the time of his stem cell therapy were pain medications and daily hoof cleaning.  It was so hard to be patient waiting for the cells to do their thing! But 3 months after his initial treatment, I began to see a dramatic change. The difference was amazing! As you can see from the pictures, between December 2020 and March 2021 his hoof soles became stronger, his heals were no longer swollen and painful, and the focal lesions became significantly smaller.

Three pictures of Valor's (horse) hooves. The first two are from July 2020 and December 2020 showing his hoof infection before treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. The third is from March 2021 showing an improved infection after receiving VetStem Cell Therapy.

Sadly, we did not get a chance to see his hoof condition through to complete resolution as I had to put him down in April 2021 due to an unrelated, fast-progressing condition. However, VetStem Cell Therapy provided him with much healthier and more comfortable feet for the last few months of his life. And for this, I will be eternally grateful.

Share
Jul 2, 2021

VetStem User Delivers Keynote Speech at UC Davis Graduation

Posted by Bob under VetStem

Recently, another wave of veterinary students graduated with their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from vet schools across the United States. Our own Dr. Harman is a graduate of the prestigious University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. One of his former classmates and experienced VetStem user, Dr. Bernadine Cruz of Laguna Hills Animal Hospital, was invited to be the keynote speaker at the 2021 commencement ceremony for new graduates of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Cruz discusses the many directions one can take with a DVM degree. Early in her speech, she references Dr. Harman and his path to become a veterinary regenerative medicine entrepreneur!

We truly look forward to sharing our regenerative medicine knowledge and technology with the new DVM graduates! Click the picture below to check out the commencement ceremony and Dr. Cruz’s speech.

Share
Jun 25, 2021

Take Your Dog to Work Day at VetStem

Posted by Bob under VetStem

Today is officially Take Your Dog to Work Day. We are so lucky at VetStem to have a pet friendly office. On any given day, there may be multiple dogs in our office. We can pretty much always count on Ben, Dr. Harman’s border collie, coming to work with his dad. Another regular visitor is Darby, our resident crazy Frenchie owned by customer service manager, Veronika. And while we have had cats in the office on occasion, most of our cats prefer the comfort of their own homes!

We of course love all the extra puppy snuggles here at VetStem, but there is another potential benefit too! Did you know that there is a potential correlation between bringing your dog to work and a reduction in stress levels? That’s right! In a preliminary study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, scientists found that people who took their dogs to work reported lower stress throughout the day than employees without pets or those who had pets but didn’t take them to work. Pretty cool, huh?

A more recent study conducted by Nationwide Pet Insurance in partnership with the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute found that 90 percent of employees in pet friendly workplaces feel highly connected to their company’s mission, fully engaged with their work, and willing to recommend their employer to others. Additionally, more than three times as many employees at pet friendly workplaces report a positive working relationship with their boss and co-workers and are more likely to stay with a company long term. You can read more about the study findings here.

So, the next time your dog is giving you the sad puppy eyes as you get ready to leave for work, consider bringing them along. And if your employer is not pet friendly, you are always welcome to come visit our furry friends!

Share
Jun 18, 2021

Meet VetStem Founder and CEO, Dr. Bob Harman

Posted by Bob under VetStem

It’s been a while since we’ve introduced our readers to members of the VetStem team so for those of you who may be new to our page, we would love to introduce you to the VetStem co-founder and CEO, Dr. Bob Harman.

Dr. Harman received his bachelor’s degree, his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and his Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine from the University of California, Davis. He began his career in the dairy cow industry but then shifted his focus to new pharmaceutical development in order to help more animals. Dr. Harman started and grew multiple biotechnology companies which he eventually sold before co-founding VetStem in 2002.

Dr. Harman’s fascination with stem cells began when he attended a presentation and saw stem cells beating in a petri dish. The video, which demonstrated the ability of stem cells to differentiate into functioning cardiac cells, inspired Dr. Harman to delve deeper into the science of stem cells. He recognized the potential of stem cell therapy and the need for alternative therapeutic modalities for difficult veterinary conditions and thus, VetStem was born.

After 15+ years of experience, Dr. Harman went on to co-found the human stem cell company, Personalized Stem Cells, Inc (PSC) in 2018. (You may have read our recent blogs about PSC. If not, check out the latest update here.) But Dr. Harman didn’t stop there. Realizing he could leverage the cell manufacturing experience and expertise of the VetStem team, Dr. Harman launched a contract cell manufacturing division, Performance Cell Manufacturing (PCM). This division of VetStem provides development and manufacturing services to companies looking to bring their cell therapy products to market.

As you can see, Dr. Harman has dedicated most of his career to the development of stem cell therapy services and products. He has authored and co-authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and he delivers regenerative medicine presentations across the globe. He also serves on the board of directors for the American College of Regenerative Medicine. He is also a founding member and Vice President of the International Association of Cellular and Regenerative Veterinary Therapies.

Dr. Harman with his border collie, Ben, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Outside of his busy professional life, Dr. Harman is an avid outdoorsman. He takes advantage of the solitude and fresh air to clear his head and regroup. He enjoys solo backpacking trips with his dog, Ben, and hikes on and off trail and through the mountains all throughout California. Dr. Harman and Sue, his wife of 45 years, live on a farm of sorts with multiple dogs, cats, birds, and horses, many of which have received treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy for various injuries and ailments. A true believer in the power of stem cell therapy, he, too, has been treated with his own stem cells for a rotator cuff injury. We truly appreciated Dr. Harman’s drive and innovation and look forward to what the future holds!  

Share
Feb 26, 2021

VetStem CEO Discusses Stem Cells and COVID-19 on Podcast

Posted by Bob under COVID-19, Stem Cells, VetStem

VetStem founder and CEO, Dr. Bob Harman, was recently featured on a San Diego-based podcast to discuss all things stem cells, including the current COVID-19 clinical trial developed by our human company, Personalized Stem Cells.

One Medicine: Animal Data Helping People

We have previously blogged about a concept we call “One Medicine,” also known as translational medicine, in which advances in the veterinary field lead to advances in human medicine. In the last year, this notion has really come to the forefront, as we were hit with the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is very common for human scientists and doctors to review data obtained from animals when developing a new drug or technology. In a previous blog, we discussed how animal data was utilized to expedite development of a COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, evaluation of COVID-19 positive animals has helped researchers understand how the virus functions and how it is transmitted in various species.

A graphic of a chest and lungs on a black background. The lungs are highlighted blue implying inflammation from COVID-19 infection

Data from VetStem Patients Helps People with COVID-19

VetStem has also joined the ranks in the fight against COVID-19. In fact, it was VetStem’s 15+ years of veterinary stem cell data that led to the development of an FDA approved COVID-19 stem cell clinical trial in human patients. Our human stem cell company, Personalized Stem Cells, Inc., developed and received FDA approval for the clinical trial and then licensed it to Sorrento Therapeutics. The study is well underway and the preliminary results look very promising.

In addition to discussing our contributions to the COVID-19 clinical trial, Dr. Harman also discussed our work with exotics organizations and specifically mentions helping an arthritic Sun Bear at the San Diego Zoo. He gives a bit of history regarding VetStem’s formation, treating his border collie Ben, as well as his own treatment with stem cell therapy for a rotator cuff injury.

Click here to listen to the podcast!

Share
Jan 22, 2021

VetStem Patent Protection and Licensing

Posted by Bob under VetStem

As the first company in the United States to provide an adipose-derived stem cell service to veterinarians for their patients, VetStem holds exclusive global veterinary licenses to a portfolio of issued patents in the field of regenerative medicine and owns a number of patents and patent applications. We believe these patents are an important way to strengthen our intellectual property in the rapidly developing field of regenerative medicine.

a VetStem laboratory technician processing stem cells.

As leaders in the field, VetStem contributes to the development of the regenerative medicine market. As such, we have invested heavily in patent protection of our technology and recently engaged appropriate counsel to pursue licensing and patent enforcement. Our goal is to provide opportunities to potentially infringing companies to license one or more of our patents to utilize in their own business model. This creates a win-win situation for everyone involved, including the customers who potentially benefit from the technology.

We recently completed licensing deals with multiple companies for use of our patented technology. These deals mean that the other companies can continue using and profiting from our technology while VetStem earns revenue to invest back into the company. For instance, a recent sublicense by one of our licensees brought VetStem $1.75 million in upfront licensing revenue. Thus, these licensing deals help optimize the value of our company and further solidify our stake in the market.

With ongoing research and development, VetStem endeavors to stay at the forefront of the field. Since the first VetStem recipient in 2004, VetStem has processed nearly 14,000 patient samples, resulting in over 30,000 stem cell treatments. Without our dedicated clientele, veterinarians, and pet owners alike, we could not do what we do!

Share
Dec 18, 2020

The History of VetStem: The Foundation of Our Success

Posted by Bob under VetStem

As 2020 comes to an end, we would like to focus our last blog of the year on the history and successes of VetStem Biopharma.

VetStem was born in 2002 with a dream to deliver regenerative medicine services and products to improve the lives of horses. It expanded shortly thereafter to provide regenerative medicine to small animals. By 2007 we had launched a full dog and cat program. In 2012 we started to respond to requests from zoos and aquatic animal parks to provide for their wild and exotic animal needs.

In the past 18 years, VetStem’s dedicated staff have provided veterinary regenerative medicine services for nearly 14,000 patients. We have focused on providing high quality cell therapy treatments and products such as the V-PET and Genesis platelet therapy systems. In our quest to spread regenerative medicine knowledge to veterinarians and pet owner, we have attended hundreds of conferences, produced 15 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, and have spoken at conferences and clinics hundreds of times. Our first-of-its-kind regenerative medicine online training course has provided formal continuing education for over 5,000 veterinarians in the U.S. and abroad. 

In 2018 we decided the time was right to launch our own human stem cell company, and Personalized Stem Cells (PSC) was born. The mission was to use the years of VetStem animal safety and efficacy data to add human stem cell medicine to our portfolio. We are completing our first FDA approved study of knee arthritis this month and have developed an entire FDA program for treating COVID-19 patients, which we have licensed to Sorrento Therapeutics. Our plan is to move into traumatic brain injury in 2021.

This year, we also announced the launch of our contract manufacturing business, commonly called a CMO or CDMO, and we have christened this division Performance Cell Manufacturing (PCM). This was an opportunistic move to use our beautiful FDA GMP manufacturing plant and cell manufacturing experience to make important cell therapy products for other companies for use in clinical trials. 

PSC and PCM have brought revenue to VetStem and allowed us to grow, hire, and weather the COVID-19 storm, however, the human division would not exist without the years of animal cell therapy work and dedication of our employees through some tough economic times. Our animal health services are the foundation of everything that we have built, and we try to convey the importance of our veterinary business with the images in our front lobby (see below).

I believe in One Medicine, where the learning in the veterinary world supports animals and provides crucial information for human medicine. But I am, and always will be, a veterinarian first. We sincerely thank all of our dedicated customers, veterinarians and pet owners alike, and wish everyone the happiest of holidays. May 2021 bring health and happiness to all.   

VetStem Cell Therapy Patient Success Stories in our Lobby
VetStem Cell Therapy Recipient, Storm
Share
Dec 11, 2020

VetStem Celebrates 15 Years of Biocom Membership

Posted by Bob under VetStem

We recently reached our 15 year anniversary as a member of Biocom, a life science association. Biocom is an organization that supports the life sciences on many fronts and in multiple locations. While Biocom is primarily based in California, they also have locations in Washington D.C. and Tokyo. From their website, “Biocom harnesses the collective power and experience of the most innovative and productive life science clusters in the world, with powerful advocacy and transformative programs to help companies in their quest to improve the human condition. Biocom provides the strongest public voice for research institutions and companies that fuel the California economy.”

As a member-driven organization, Biocom provides life science companies with the opportunities and resources they need to fulfill business goals. Biocom is great for networking and connecting companies in the San Diego area. Local area members include businesses in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, genomics, diagnostic, medical device, connected health, agriculture, and bio-renewable energy fields. Their website states, “With 23 years in San Diego, Biocom is well known for its collaborative spirit and integral role in ensuring the life science ecosystem of San Diego has the support it needs to thrive, including infrastructure, networking, professional development, and business-friendly government regulations.”

VetStem CEO, Dr. Bob Harman, has a long history as a Biocom member. In the early 90s, Dr. Harman ran HTI Bio-Services, a contract research company, and regularly networked with other local biotech CEOs and entrepreneurs. Regarding those early days as a Biocom member, Dr. Harman stated, “These were exciting times not only because of technical innovation, but also because we were forming a community that helped to advance medicine and create a vital segment in the local and regional economy.”

VetStem endeavors to stay at the forefront of the field. Founded in 2002, VetStem is the first US-based commercial veterinary adipose stem cell company. We have processed fat tissue from nearly 14,000 patients resulting in over 30,000 stem cell treatments. In 2018, we utilized our over 15 years of experience and data in veterinary medicine to spin out a human stem cell company, Personalized Stem Cells, Inc. We also just announced the launch of our contract cell manufacturing business, which we will discuss in an upcoming blog. We are very proud to be a longtime member of Biocom and of our contributions to the biotech community.

Share