National Editor

To push its tissue-repair programs in such markets as bone grafting and to expand cell production marketing in Europe, Aastrom Biosciences Inc. said it plans to sell up to $12 million in shares during the next 24 months to Chicago-based Fusion Capital Fund II LLC.

Aastrom, of Ann Arbor, Mich., controls when and how much stock will be sold, and can extend the deal for six months. The company's stock (NASDAQ:ASTM) fell 7 cents Monday, or 12 percent, to close at 51 cents.

The company could not be reached for comment.

Focused on cell-based products for tissue repair and the treatment of cancer and infectious disease, Aastrom is developing tissue-repair products derived from bone marrow and cord blood for stem cell transplants, severe osteoporosis and bone grafts.

The company's patented single-pass perfusion method, designed to provide cells with biological function, and a patented automation system to deliver the cells are integrated in its AastromReplicell System.

That system, a manufacturing device to enable medical procedures, is made up of a family of products for making human cells ex vivo, with single-use therapy kits for specific applications. The kits are deployed using an instrumentation platform that is in Phase III pivotal testing in the U.S. and has won CE mark approval in Europe for use by hospitals, blood labs and cell processing service centers.

Also in pivotal Phase III trials (and also with a CE mark approval) is the SC-1 Therapy Kit (based on bone marrow stem cells) for solid cancers.

The FDA has approved a Phase III protocol for the CB-1 Therapy Kit (based on cord blood) for leukemia and genetic blood diseases.

Therapeutic cell products also include the Dendricell dendritic cell products for the cancer vaccine market. Aastrom has a co-marketing deal with BioWhittaker Inc., of Walkersville, Md., under which the pair are marketing Aastrom's Dendricell products and BioWhittaker's X-Vivo cell culture media, which may be used together to produce human dendritic cells for cell-based cancer vaccines. BioWhittaker's line of X-Vivo serum-free media is custom packaged with Aastrom's Dendricell products.