Identifies Exosomes Originating From Cardiosphere-Derived Cells (CDCs) as Key Mediators of Myocardial Regeneration

Highlights Potential Utility of Exosomes as Cell-Free Therapeutic Candidate

LOS ANGELES, May 28, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. (OTCBB:CAPR), a biotechnology company focused on developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, today announced that it will present findings from a preclinical study on exosomes, Capricor's newly licensed platform technology, at the 11th International Symposium on Stem Cell Therapy and Cardiovascular Innovations, being held May 29-30, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. The preclinical study sponsored by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center showed that exosomes were able to improve cardiac function and reduce the damage resulting from a heart attack.

Dr. Rachel Ruckdeschel Smith, Ph.D., Vice President of Research and Development at Capricor, will outline the study findings,i which were published in the May issue of Stem Cell Reports, the official journal of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). The study, titled "Exosomes as Critical Agents of Cardiac Regeneration Triggered by Cell Therapy," was led by Eduardo Marbán, M.D., Ph.D, who is Director of the Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Co-founder and Scientific Advisory Board Chairman of Capricor.  

Study authors pinpoint exosomes secreted by CDCs as potentially critical agents of myocardial regeneration and cardio-protection. They show that CDC exosomes inhibit apoptosis and promote proliferation of cardiac muscle cells, while enhancing the formation of new blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis.

Released by nearly every cell type in the body and a vital mediator of cellular activities, exosomes are nano-sized, membrane-enclosed vesicles, or "bubbles," that are filled with select molecules, including proteins and microRNAs, which when released send messages to neighboring cells to regulate cellular functions.  CDC exosomes contain a distinctive complement of microRNAs, which have the ability to alter cell behavior. Exosomes ultimately are the mediators for many cell processes including inflammation, angiogenesis, programmed cell death (apoptosis), and scarring. Research has shown that exogenous exosomes can be used as therapeutic agents aimed to direct or in some cases re-direct cellular activities. Their size, ease of crossing cell membranes, and ability to communicate in native cellular language makes them a class of exciting and novel therapeutic agents.

"These findings are potentially groundbreaking because they pinpoint exosomes, and begin to identify some of the underlying driver microRNAs, as the key mediators of cell-induced heart regeneration, while also demonstrating proof of concept that exosomes are a powerful cell-free therapeutic," said Dr. Rachel Ruckdeschel Smith, Ph.D., Vice President of Research and Development at Capricor. "This is exciting because there is an opportunity to continue exploring exosomes as a new approach to regenerative medicine."   

Linda Marbán, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Capricor Therapeutics, said, "The findings, outlined by the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute team published in Stem Cell Reports are indeed revolutionary and serve as the basis of an Exclusive License Agreement that we entered into earlier this month with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for intellectual property related to the development of exosomes.  We are looking forward to evaluating the potential of CDC exosomes as a cell-free product platform in cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular areas, which we hope will enable us to expand our product portfolio." 

Details of the oral presentation include:

Event: 11th International Symposium on Stem Cell Therapy and Cardiovascular Innovations
Title: Exosomes from cardiosphere-derived cells
Date: Thursday, May 29, 2014
Time: 2:30-2:50 p.m. CEST
Location: Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón; Madrid, Spain

In addition, Dr. Smith will participate in a panel discussion titled "Cell production for clinical trials" during Educational Workshop 3, taking place May 29 at 6:00-8:00 p.m. CEST.

About Capricor Therapeutics

Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. (CAPR), a publicly-traded biotechnology company, is focused on the development of novel therapeutics to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases. Capricor Therapeutics has two leading product candidates: CAP-1002 and Cenderitide. Capricor Therapeutics was formed through the November 2013 merger between Capricor, Inc., a privately-held company whose mission is to improve the treatment of heart disease by commercializing cardiac stem cell therapies for patients, and Nile Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative products for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Capricor Therapeutics' stock began trading under the symbol "CAPR" December 20, 2013. For additional information, please visit www.capricor.com.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this press release regarding the efficacy, safety, and intended utilization of Capricor's product candidates; the conduct, size, timing and results of discovery efforts and clinical trials; plans regarding regulatory filings, future research and clinical trials; plans regarding current and future collaborative activities and the ownership of commercial rights; future royalty streams, and any other statements about Capricor's management team's future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans or prospects constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any statements that are not statements of historical fact (including statements containing the words "believes," "plans," "could," "anticipates," "expects," "estimates," "plans," "should," "target," "will," "would" and similar expressions) should also be considered to be forward-looking statements. There are a number of important factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. More information about these and other risks that may impact our business are set forth in our Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 31, 2014, our Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2014, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 15, 2014, and in our Amended Registration Statement on Form S-1, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 23, 2014. All forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to us as of the date hereof, and we assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

 References
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i  Ibrahim, A. et al. "Exosomes as Critical Agents of Cardiac Regeneration Triggered by Cell Therapy." Stem Cell Reports. Vol. 2; pages 606–619. Published May 6, 2014.

CONTACT: For more information or to schedule an interview with Capricor, please contact:

         Capricor Therapeutics, Inc.
         AJ Bergmann, VP of Finance
         +1-310-358-3200
         abergmann@capricor.com
         
         The Ruth Group
         Lee Roth (investors)
         lroth@theruthgroup.com
         (646) 536-7012
         
         Kirsten Thomas (media)
         kthomas@theruthgroup.com
         (646) 536-7014

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