International Stem Cell Corp. (ISCO)
International Stem Cell Corp. reported some ground-breaking news recently, showcasing the progress the company has made towards clinical-grade, applied stem cell therapy, with the announcement that the R&D team has successfully created the first human, clinical-grade stem cell lines able to immune-match millions of people and thus sharply reduce rejection by the individual’s immune system.
This revolutionary breakthrough is an extension of ISCO’s established research-grade parthenogenetic stem cell technology, proprietarily engineered and designed from the ground up to align perfectly with FDA regulations, as well as the Good Tissue Practice (GTP) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards they helped create to ensure quality control for the clinical space. These new lines have been validated as HLA coding region-homozygous (simple gene profile in the areas which code for immune rejection) by independent third party testing, a feature which not only gives them a distinct clinical advantage due to patient-specific immune matching capability (huge reduction in rejection by the host immune system), but also further clearly sets the technology apart from embryonic stem cells.
An immune type contained within the company’s existing hpSC lines affords potential to immune-match some 70M people and is the most common type in the entire Caucasian populace. Development of clinical grade lines from this rock-solid foundation is now enabling ISCO to transcend previous limitations and initiate U.S. clinical trials. Think about the impact of ISCO being able to supply the global medical community with a nearly limitless supply of viable, FDA-compliant stem cells which have this immune-matching capability, the upside to patients alone is enough to make headlines.
The potential impact for severe degenerative diseases of the eye, nervous system, and liver, where this technology has already proven itself clinically but was not viable due to an inability to provide comprehensive immune-matching, is immense and the entire area now opens up like a vast new frontier. ISCO is already geared up to pioneer that land and has set out to stake claim to a lucrative, untrammeled territory, whose mastery should translate directly into substantial shareholder growth over the long-term.
New Western Energy Corp. (NWTR)
New Western Energy continues piecing together an extremely solid portfolio of working interests across the rich hydrocarbon targets of the Gulf States region, with noted small-cap research firm, Zacks Equity Research, even bumping the price target ten cents recently to $1.40 on the company’s strong market cap to reserves ratio among others things, especially in light of the new Fields Lease acquisition in Kansas.
The 300-acre Fields Lease (100% WI) has expanded an already firm, contiguous foundation in the Chautauqua Arch area held by the company via their 1.7k-acre B&W Ranch and 550-acre Smith Leases. This brings NWTR up to 2,550 acres in prime Pennsylvanian age Cherokee basin shale, all of it contiguous (with southern district targets in the pre-Pennsylvanian reservoirs like the Weiser Sands and Wayside Sands). The gas and oil here flows from primarily the Mulky Shale and Weiser Sands reservoirs, offering up a target rich environment for new wells, and the company is laser-focused on acquiring additional interests in the Chautauqua County area (and elsewhere) through carefully selected acquisitions/partnerships.
Looking at the new reserve estimate, post the Fields Lease acquisition, Zacks was confident of the upwardly revised price target from eleven days prior, showing some really nice forward revenue projections as well (ramping from $0.20M in Q1 2013 to $1.7M in Q4 the following year). The B&W Ranch Lease for instance has such a great target array there is already obvious potential for three to four oil formation discoveries by NWTR, in addition to an equal number of gas formation discoveries. Both production zones are in quite shallow territory and in general we have reservoirs at a very manageable depth of around 600 to 1.4k feet across the leases, offering shareholders an approachable, economically feasible growth outlook.
Turning further south past where the Central Oklahoma platform meets the Cherokee basin, across the border and east of Tulsa in Rogers County, are the company’s Oklahoma assets. These assets include the over 120-acre Glass Lease (60.94% NRI) consisting of 14 wells secured via joint-venture with RC Oil Company back in 2009 and the 150-acre Glass Lease (60.94% NRI), also via the RC Oil JV. The properties are now overseen/operated by Petroleum Energy Management Co. (PEMCO), who secured the interests towards the end of 2011.
Jumping further to the south we have a set of five leases in Texas, located in Jones and Shackelford Counties, which make up the bulk of the company’s remaining oil and gas production interests. It’s a good idea to look at the Moran Lease (12 wells, eight lease units total) in Shackelford County first, as this 680-acre property recently saw commencement of a comprehensive work-over program via the company’s wholly-owned, Royal Texan Energy Co. subsidiary, focused on the Sam Cannon Well Unit.
Stellar Biotechnologies, Inc. (SBOTF)
Stellar Biotechnologies has rapidly secured access to a key area of the burgeoning biomedical space through the development and patenting of a renewable method for extraction of KLH, or Keyhole Limpet Hemocyanin (complex oxygen-carrying metalloprotein), a vitally important, highly-potent, and historically validated as safe, yet extremely limited immunostimulating protein, which is derived only from the giant keyhole limpet, a kind of sea snail that lives only in the coastal waters off California. Stellar KLH™ Protein is a lucrative product with enormous potential and noteworthy market dynamics.
Stellar has the sole, crucial patent for extraction of this renewable resource and recently moved to further reinforce their strong IP foundation by filing a patent application on the suKLH technology platform that included composition of matter and usages in a wide range of therapies, as well as manufacturing processes used to farm these limpets in aquaculture. Stellar really has mastered an environmentally sound, non-lethal derivation of pharmaceutical grade (GMP-grade) KLH from the little guys and it is a truly inspiring feat of modern science that blends nature with high-tech. The company is in a leadership position here with the top high molecular weight (hmwKLH) and subunit KLH (suKLH) formulations, with the suKLH formulation's show-stopping immunogenic potency giving the company a serious edge.
Such high-quality, maximum potency vectors as those in the company's KLH formulations, allow developers to forego incorporation of otherwise dangerous adjuvants (with harmful side-effects) in order to beef up overall immunogenicity in vaccine research. Stellar is positioned to push huge shareholder return numbers due to KLH being critical to over a hundred current clinical trials in bonanza sectors like Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and oncology where, collectively, the net sum quality of life result for millions of people is unquantifiable. The kind of end market territory in therapeutic vaccines and immune testing we are talking about here is incredible, and there is considerable space to develop in KLH-based assays as well, with the company's Anti-KLH ELISA Test Kits, already showing solid traction in drug screening. A prime example of how this technology can deliver an extremely robust test framework for judging a drug candidate's capacity for immune system regulation.
This key immunostimulus function of KLH has made it a de facto standard as an antigen among researchers looking to push the envelope of clinical development while retaining high tolerability/safety. Major advances in immune diagnostic testing, like T-cell-dependent antibody response (TDAR, the standard immune competency benchmark for regulators and drug developers), are making KLH look more and more like a sure fire solution for providing a clinical, trial-ready, standalone injectable for Big Pharma developers.