Monday, November 29, 2010

BioTime and CIRM Join in hESC Deal

The California stem cell agency has reached an agreement with BioTime of Alameda, Ca., to make five clinical grade hESC cell lines available to California-based researchers, it was announced this morning.

In a news release, Michael West, president of the publicly traded BioTime, said,
“We believe this agreement is in the best interests of both the people of California and BioTime. There are at least three potential benefits to the parties: First, access to cGMP-manufactured cell lines may help CIRM-funded researchers accelerate their work in a wide array of new cell-based therapies and drugs, and more quickly translate the research into improved medical outcomes for people with difficult to treat diseases. Second, the publication of the research results using these cell lines may benefit BioTime's own work to better understand the characteristics of the lines when used to manufacture human therapeutics. Lastly, BioTime may benefit from future commercial revenues from products developed as a result of this collaboration through a royalty-bearing license. The development of standards and open platforms often allows new fields of science and technology to move forward more quickly.”
The BioTime news release continued,
“Research grade versions of the cell lines will be provided to CIRM grantees and California-based institutions free of charge until April 30, 2011 for research use only.

“The GMP grade versions of these cell lines along with a letter of cross-reference to a biologics master file containing manufacturing and controls information and additional documentation needed to establish GMP compliance, and the complete genomic DNA sequence information on the cell lines, will be available to California-based researchers at a price approximating BioTime’s cost of materials by November 22, 2011. Although no royalties will be payable to BioTime by researchers who acquire the cell lines for research use, entities that desire to use the GMP-compliant cell lines for therapeutic or other commercial purposes, may do so only after signing commercialization agreements acceptable to BioTime and entitling BioTime to receive royalties on net sales not to exceed 2.0% of net sales, reducible to 1.5% if the researcher must pay any other royalties in connection with the resulting product commercialization. The researchers will be responsible for obtaining any licenses that may be needed from third parties to use the GMP cell lines in their products. Lastly, the form of a material transfer agreement has been agreed to by CIRM and BioTime for research use. The pre-negotiation of terms will serve to help accelerate research by eliminating protracted negotiations.”

CIRM had not made an announcement of the deal at the time of this writing.

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