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 2014 of 6.1 million Shekels (approximately $1.74 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 completion of preclinical testing and filing an IND application to commence human clinical trials in 2014.
“We thank the Israel Office of the Chief Scientist for their commitment to innovation and their continuing support of our development of a cell therapy based treatment for a major disease of aging,” said Charles Irving, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Cell Cure.
“I join with Dr. Irving in thanking the OCS for their generous support in acclerating pluripotent stem cell research into clinical applications,” 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 dry form of age-related macular degeneration afflicts over seven million people in the United States alone. We anticipate that OpRegen ® will make a real difference in the quality of life of the aging baby-boomer generation afflicted with this condition in many industrialized countries.”
The OCS has previously provided grants to Cell Cure. Cell Cure will pay a royalty to the OCS on revenues from OpRegen ® until total royalties paid equal 100% of the amount of the grant plus interest at a LIBOR rate. Historically, Cell Cure Neurosciences or BioTime’s other subsidiaries have raised capital, received grants, or generated revenues independently of BioTime to help fund their operations. We expect Cell Cure Neurosciences to continue to pursue such financing strategies in the future.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.