Friday, August 09, 2019

California Stem Cell Agency's Business Partnering Program and BlueRock Therapeutics

A $240-million deal yesterday involved an East Coast biotech firm that has loose ties to California's nearly 15-year-old stem cell research program. 

The firm is Blue Rock Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held cell therapy company based in Cambridge, Mass.  Bayer owned about 60 percent of the company and picked up the remainder for $240 million in what it called a "major milestone." 

Last year, BlueRock was one of two companies that joined a program of the $3 billion stem cell agency to create a "built-in concierge service for the stem cell space." The agency, formally known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), called its new effort the Industry Alliance Program (IAP).

The agency said at the time, 
"The CIRM IAP is designed to give pharma, biotech and VC firms direct access to CIRM’s growing stem cell portfolio. These partners work in the stem cell and regenerative medicine field and will be connected to CIRM-funded scientists working on projects relevant to their interests."
Regarding the deal yesterday, Ben Fidler of Xconomy wrote,
"The deal gives Bayer rights to a company using cells harvested from healthy donors to develop cell therapies for a variety of different diseases—from neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s to heart failure to graft versus host disease. But the buyout is a gamble on an ambitious technology whose first human study, in Parkinson’s, will start later this year."
So far, CIRM has not announced any fresh results from its industry alliance program. 


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