BioTime, Inc. (NYSE Amex:BTIM), Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd., and Hadasit Bio-Holdings Ltd. (Tel Aviv Stock Exchange:HDST) jointly announced today that Cell Cure will receive an equity investment of $7.1 million from BioTime, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., and Hadasit Bio-Holdings (HBL). This financial round extends previous investments by Teva and HBL in Cell Cure. BioTime already held a significant interest in Cell Cure which it acquired through its acquisition of ES Cell International Pte. Ltd. (ESI) in May of 2010.
In addition to the development of Cell Cure's OpRegen™ product for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which is the subject of the just announced Exclusive License Option Agreement with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, this funding will enable Cell Cure to continue the development of human embryonic stem cell-based therapies for neural degenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Following BioTime's acquisition of ESI and its additional investment in Cell Cure, Cell Cure has become the neurological arm of BioTime’s program for the development of human embryonic stem cell based therapies. Cell Cure also enjoys non-dilutive financial support from the Office of the Chief Scientist in Israel's Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, which funds up to 60% of approved annual R & D programs. Further financial details of the investment were not disclosed.
Ophir Shahaf, CEO of HBL commented: "The first investment HBL executed, immediately following HBL's IPO in 2006 was in Cell Cure, re-establishing it in the Hadassah Medical Center setting in Jerusalem. We are happy and proud to see the company develop and grow to the point where it has attracted two strategic partners in the field of human embryonic stem cells. The equity investment will obviously have a key part in the progress, but the expertise, know-how and strategic connections these partners bring to the table are just as important in aggressively advancing its products to the clinic."