SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Amarantus BioSciences, Inc. (OTCQB: AMBS), a biotechnology company developing new treatments and diagnostics for Parkinson's disease and Traumatic Brain Injury centred on its proprietary anti-apoptosis therapeutic protein MANF, today announced that it intends to pursue the identification of one or multiple therapeutic indications for its lead therapeutic candidate MANF that could lead to the therapy receiving orphan drug designation(s) with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The strategy is centred on exploiting MANF's unique mechanism of action related to facilitating proper protein folding and processing in the endoplasmic reticulum in order to identify rare and/or ultra-rare diseases where MANF treatment may play a significant role in improving patient outcomes in disease states where no other treatment options are currently available. "Protein misfolding and aggregation plays a significant role in a wide range of human diseases, including very common diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, as well as many rare and ultra-rare diseases," said Gerald E. Commissiong, President & CEO of Amarantus. "MANF has a unique ability to mediate protein folding in an extracellular fashion, making it potentially an ideal biologic drug candidate for a wide range of human conditions. Parkinson's continues to remain the Company's primary focus, especially in light of recently announced data where MANF demonstrated superiority over GDNF in a neurorestoration animal model of Parkinson's disease. However, the recent grant the Company was awarded by the Center of Excellence in Apoptosis Research will allow our scientific team to explore MANF's utility in diseases that have much smaller patient populations, and we will make a concerted effort to focus on rare and ultra-rare diseases when reviewing the results. This strategy may afford the Company an accelerated pathway to commercialization by identifying therapeutic applications for MANF that would require few small clinical trials. Data already pooled from publicly available databases suggests this orphan designation strategy may bear fruit for the Company in the near-term." The Orphan Drug Act (ODA) provides for granting special status to a product to treat a rare disease or condition upon request of a sponsor. The combination of the product to treat the rare disease or condition must meet certain criteria. This status is referred to as orphan designation. Orphan designation qualifies the sponsor of the product for the tax credit and marketing incentives of the ODA. A marketing application for a prescription drug product that has been designated as a drug for a rare disease or condition is not subject to a prescription drug user fee unless the application includes an indication for other than a rare disease or condition.