MultiCell Technologies is another penny play that has already produced some nice returns for traders this year - and long-termers as well - but like the spikes experienced by Manhattan Pharmaceuticals, the swift gains were followed by even swifter retreats.

While the MultiCell pipeline was stalled through the depths of the economic crisis, when funding was tough to come by for biotech start-ups, there looks to have been life reinvigorated into this penny company.

The most advanced product in the pipeline is Phase II product MCT-125, a therapeutic candidate for the treatment of fatigue in MS patients. MCT-125 has already demonstrated efficacy in a 138-patient Phase IIa clinical trial. Last year, Multicell was awarded over $730,000 from the Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project Grants for the advancement of MCT-125 and two other preclinical stage cancer treatments, MCT-465 and MCT-475.

That program dished out quite a bit of money around the speculative biotech sector, so it shouldn't be looked at as a validation of success, but any amount of cash given to a small company such as MCET is a bonus.

In more recent news, MultiCell announced this month a research agreement with University Health Network
regarding possibly MCET's most potentially lucrative technologies, MCT-465 and 475 for the treatment of liver cancer.

According to the press release announcing the agreement, "Anand Ghanekar, M.D., Ph.D., of the University Health Network's Toronto General Hospital, will direct research activities relating to the evaluation of MultiCell's product candidates MCT-465 and MCT-485, in in vitro models for the treatment of primary liver cancer. The mechanism of action of MCT-465 and MCT-485 and their potential selective effect on liver cancer stem cells will also be evaluated."

MultiCell owns exclusive rights to several US and overseas patents related to the isolation and differentiation of liver stem cells, the backbone of MCET's liver stem cell technology.

A mini-run resulted from the news, but nothing to the tune of the jump to two cents earlier in the year.

For the long-timers who still have an eye to the future, the agreement is proof that MultiCell has a pulse, and potential.

It's also worth keeping an eye on what comes from MultiCell's deal last year regarding Xenogenics and the BioStent. Xenogenics, MCET's majority owned subsidiary, purchased all Ideal BioStent assets from investment funds managed by Western Technology Investment and Silicon Valley Bank last year.

Additionally, Xenogenics entered into a worldwide exclusive license with Rutgers University for rights to certain intellectual property related to the Ideal BioStent. Should Xenogenics advance the Ideal BioStent to commercialization, the company would be taking advantage of a multi-billion dollar market that could prove to be highly lucrative over the long run.

Anothe penny play worth watching, and maybe worth buying on the dips.

Disclosure: No position. VFC's Stock House is not compensated to cover MCET.

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