Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. and BioTime, Inc. (NYSE MKT: BTX) today announced that Asterias has executed a long term lease for a research, development and manufacturing facility to house all of its cell therapy product development activities. Located at 6300 Dumbarton Circle, Fremont, California, the leased facility contains approximately 44,000 square feet of existing office, laboratory and vivarium space. The lease commencement date is expected to be October 1, 2014 and is for an eight (8) year term with two five (5) year extension options.
Under the lease, the landlord will provide Asterias with a $4.4 million tenant improvement allowance that Asterias plans to use to construct a production facility in the leased premises designed to satisfy requirements for both US and European current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) for the production of cell banks and Asterias drug product candidates. Construction of the manufacturing facility is expected to begin by the second quarter of 2014.
Asterias began formal product development activities in its current location in Menlo Park, California during October of 2013 after the closing of an Asset Contribution Agreement with Geron Corporation and BioTime, Inc., pursuant to which Asterias acquired Geron’s human embryonic stem cell assets, as well as rights to use certain human embryonic stem cell lines, minority stakes in two of BioTime’s subsidiaries and stock from BioTime. The Asterias product development portfolio includes two clinical programs - neural progenitors cells, currently under clinical development for spinal cord injury, and dendritic cells targeting telomerase, currently under clinical development for cancer. The Company’s preclinical portfolio includes chondrocytes for osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease, and cardiomyocytes for heart failure.
Asterias Biotherapeutics is a subsidiary of BioTime, Inc., whose mission is to acquire and develop best in class cell therapy product candidates. Our first acquisition was the stem cell assets of Geron Corporation, which was completed on October 1, 2013. That acquisition includes Geron’s entire cell therapy intellectual property portfolio, existing contracts and license agreements related to their stem cell programs, INDs for OPC1 and VAC1 cell therapies, master cell banks of hESCs and therapeutic cells manufactured under cGMP, research cell banks, customized reagents and equipment, and banks of cGMP-manufactured OPC1 drug product used in Geron’s Phase 1 trial in spinal cord injury, the world’s first human clinical trial of hESC-derived cells.