BioTime, Inc. (NYSE MKT: BTX) and its subsidiary Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd. (Cell Cure) today announced that Cell Cure has been awarded a grant for 2012 of 5.04 million Shekels (approximately $1.33 million) from Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) to help finance the development of OpRegen ®, a cell-based therapeutic product in development by Cell Cure for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration. Cell Cure’s plans for the development of OpRegen ® include filing an application to commence human clinical trials in 2013.
“We wish to thank the Office of the Chief Scientist for their participation in advancing this important new application of regenerative medicine,” said Charles Irving, PhD, Chief Executive of Cell Cure. “The dry form of age-related macular degeneration is estimated to afflict over 7.3 million people in the United States alone. We anticipate that OpRegen ® will make a real difference in the quality of life of the aging population in many industrialized countries, and hence it is a strategic investment for not only Israel, but the world as a whole.”
“Age-related macular degeneration is a severe form of acute vision loss and the leading cause of blindness in an aging population. It affects that part of the retina most critical in everyday tasks such as reading and face recognition. I join with Dr. Irving in thanking OCS for their generous support in accelerating these advances in stem cell biology into the clinic,” said Benjamin Reubinoff, MD, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Cell Cure and Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of the Hadassah Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Center at Hadassah University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.
The OCS has previously provided grants to Cell Cure. Cell Cure will pay a 3.5% royalty to the OCS on revenues from OpRegen ® until total royalties paid equal 100% of the amount of the grants plus interest at a LIBOR rate.About the Office of the Chief Scientist The Office of the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor is charged with the execution of government policy for the support of industrial R&D. The goal of the OCS is to assist in the development of technology in Israel as a means of fostering economic growth, encouraging technological innovation and entrepreneurship, leveraging Israel’s scientific potential, enhancing the knowledge base of industry in Israel, stimulating high value-added R&D, and encouraging R&D collaboration both nationally and internationally. A variety of ongoing support programs developed and offered by the OCS play a major role in enabling Israel to be a key center for high-tech entrepreneurship.