RTI Biologics Inc. (RTI) (Nasdaq: RTIX), a leading provider of orthopedic and other biologic implants, and Athersys Inc. (Athersys) (Nasdaq: ATHX), a leader in regenerative medicine and cell therapy research and development, announced today an agreement under which Athersys will provide RTI access to its Multipotent Adult Progenitor Cell (MAPC) technologies.
Under the agreement, RTI has licensed Athersys’ technology to isolate and preserve cells from organ and tissue donors. This will enable RTI to develop and commercialize MAPC technology-based biologic implants exclusively for certain orthopedic applications. With this license, RTI expands its capabilities for accessing the fastest growing segment of the bone graft substitutes market, while Athersys extends the application of its robust stem cell technology platform to an important segment of the orthopedic market.
"We are very excited about our collaboration with Athersys and the potential to apply its MAPC and related technologies in the orthobiologics market," said Brian K. Hutchison, RTI's chairman and CEO. “After significant research into stem cells and the evaluation of multiple technologies, we have determined that the MAPC technology offers the greatest potential to create high quality, innovative implants for our surgeons and their patients. Licensing this technology is an important step in enhancing and further differentiating RTI’s orthobiologics offering, an area of strategic focus for the company.”
“We are enthusiastic about our relationship with RTI and this application of our proprietary stem cell technologies to the orthopedic market,” said William Lehmann, Jr., president and COO of Athersys. “Our primary focus is the development and commercialization of expanded, ‘off-the-shelf’ cell products, such as MultiStem ®, for the treatment of certain cardiovascular, central nervous system-related, inflammatory and immune system disorders, diseases and conditions. This collaboration allows for the utilization of our already developed stem cell technologies in an additional area. Further, it provides potential near term revenues from the orthopedic market.”Under the agreement, Athersys will receive a $3 million license fee and is also eligible to receive payments up to a cumulative total of $37.5 million as follows: $2 million contingent upon successful achievement of certain development and commercialization milestones, and an additional maximum total of $35.5 million contingent upon achievement of certain cumulative revenue milestones, which will reflect the ultimate commercial success of the product in this fast growing market. In addition, Athersys will receive tiered royalties from the distribution of implants using Athersys’ technologies.