BioTime, Inc. (NYSE MKT: BTX), an Alameda-based company engaged in research and development of innovative new products in the field of regenerative medicine utilizing stem cells and related technology, announced today that it has formed a new wholly owned subsidiary, BioTime Acquisition Corporation, to pursue opportunities and acquire assets and businesses in the fields of stem cells and regenerative medicine. Thomas Okarma, PhD, MD, will serve as the Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the board of directors of BioTime’s new subsidiary. Dr. Okarma is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Geron Corporation and served on that company’s board of directors.
Since 2010, BioTime has expanded the scope of its business through strategic acquisitions and has been continually exploring other acquisition opportunities in its fields of interest. BioTime’s strategic acquisitions include:
- ES Cell International Pte Ltd. (ESI), a Singapore company that developed the first human embryonic stem cells generated under conditions designed to be compliant with current good manufacturing practices (cGMP). ESI holds significant intellectual property assets in the stem cell field, including a patent cross license with Geron Corporation (NASDAQ: GERN) providing a non-exclusive, worldwide cross license to certain patent rights owned by Geron and ESI covering the differentiation of neural cells from human embryonic stem cells.
- Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd., a majority-owned subsidiary of BioTime that is developing therapeutic products derived from stem cells for the treatment of retinal and neural degenerative diseases. Cell Cure's lead product is OpRegen™, a retinal cell product for use in the treatment of age-related macular degeneration.
- Glycosan BioSystems, Inc., the developer of HyStem ® hydrogel products, from which BioTime is developing Renevia™ as a biocompatible, implantable hyaluronan and collagen-based matrix for cell delivery in human clinical applications. As an injectable product, Renevia™ may address an immediate need in cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries and other procedures by improving the process of transplanting adipose-derived cells, mesenchymal stem cells, or other adult stem cells.
- Cell Targeting, Inc., the developer of peptide-based technologies that may facilitate directing human cells derived from embryonic stem and induced pluripotent stem cells to sites in the body where the cells can exert a therapeutic effect. These technologies are being used by BioTime’s subsidiary OncoCyte Corporation for its research and development related to genetically modified human embryonic stem cell-derived vascular progenitors designed to target and destroy malignant tumors.
- Xennex, Inc., the holder of exclusive worldwide rights to market GeneCards ®, the leading human gene database, which was acquired by BioTime’s subsidiary LifeMap Sciences, Inc. GeneCards ® provides concise genomic, transcriptomic, genetic, proteomic, functional, and disease-related information on all known and predicted human genes. In addition, LifeMap is currently developing two additional databases: LifeMap, a database for stem cell biology, and MalaCards, a disease database. Together, this integrated database suite will provide state-of-the-art information and research products for the medical research community.
“Global advances on multiple fronts of stem cell biology have established the foundation for an integrative business approach to consolidate and translate these discoveries into products that may revolutionize clinical medicine,” said Thomas Okarma, the new company’s CEO. “Living cell therapies can now be scalably manufactured, efficiently distributed to points of care, and tested in controlled clinical trials. The goal of regenerative medicine is to go beyond the reach of pills and scalpels to achieve a new level of healing that may, after a single administration of therapeutic cells, permanently restore function to tissues and organs damaged by chronic disease or injury. BioTime Acquisition Corporation intends to build its business by identifying, consolidating, and commercially developing the best available cell therapy technologies to realize the potential of regenerative medicine. Ultimately, the goal is to bring these new therapies to the many millions of patients who need them.”