) -- Thanks to everyone who joined me in the first
Biotech Stock Mailbag Live Chat
last Friday. I enjoyed, it and the feedback from many of you was so positive that I've decided to make the Mailbag Live Chat a monthly event.
The next live chat will take place Friday, June 17 at 11 a.m. ET. I hope you'll be able to participate.
Keith M. writes,
"I was wondering whether you have heard of a company called Fibrocell Science(FCSC) and could extend me an opinion on it. They make a product to treat wrinkles and have a PDUFA date of June 22. Thanks in advance for any input you may have."
Forget about stem cell research to find cures for serious and life-threatening diseases. What mankind really demands is a stem-cell therapy to smooth out the unsightly smile lines on the rich and pampered faces of the denizens of Manhattan's Upper East Side.
All snark aside, Fibrocell is seeking U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for laViv, a personalized cell therapy for the treatment (smoothing out) of nasolabial fold wrinkles -- those are the skin folds that run from each side of the nose to the corners of the mouth.
What makes laViv different from Botox and the myriad of dermal fillers used commonly in cosmetic skin procedures today is its active ingredient -- a patient's own fibroblasts. These are a form of stem cell that matures into connective tissue fibers and help give skin strength and elasticity.
Fibrocell makes laViv by first removing a small tissue sample from behind a patient's ear. The tissue sample is then sent to Fibrocell's manufacturing facility, where fibroblasts are isolated and grown in a lab to form a personalized cellular therapy. Once prepared and shipped back to the doctor, the fibroblast-containing cell therapy, now known as laViv, is reinjected into the patient's face to fill in and smooth out wrinkle lines.
I'm a guy, and a low-maintenance one at that, so going through all this trouble to harvest and grow stem cells for a vain, aesthetic procedure seems utterly ridiculous. But heck, we know that billions of dollars are spent on cosmetic surgery in this country, so perhaps Fibrocell has a shot. The imprimatur of an FDA approval could prove helpful to the company as well, especially against the all the modern-day witch doctors out there peddling pseudo-scientific stem-cell snake oil to wrinkled women. (Google "stem cell facelifts" and you'll see what I mean.)