A Medical Device Daily

BioTime and its Embryome Sciences (both Emeryville, California) subsidiary have signed a letter of intent with International Stem Cell Corp. (Oceanside, California) and its subsidiary, Lifeline Cell Technology (Walkersville, Maryland), to jointly produce and distribute a wide array of research products from human embryonic stem cell technology.

Human embryonic stem (hES) cells are powerful in that they possess the potential to become all of the thousands of cell types in the human body. The industry surrounding this emerging field of science is called "regenerative medicine." Embryome Sciences and Lifeline said they intend to jointly manufacture products serving the complex needs of this industry, including cells and related products that will allow researchers to identify and study the thousands of cell types that can be made from hES cells.

"While many have focused on the therapeutic opportunities of hES cells, and the generous $3 billion of funding provided by the State of California to fund this research, it is important to remember that the people who really profited from the California gold rush of the 19th century were the makers and suppliers of the tools," said Michael West, PhD, CEO of BioTime and Embryome Sciences.

He added: "While not ruling out entering the therapeutics race at some point, we believe that the greatest rate of return on investment may be in commercializing research products that can be produced and marketed within one to two years. We intend to win the race to profitability in this important field of medicine."

Under a collaborative production and manufacturing agreement, the parties intend to manufacture ESpy cell lines (complex derivatives of hES cells that send beacons of light in response to the activation of particular genes), as well as a host of supplies scientists will utilize in the field of stem cell research.

The progenitor cell lines will be produced and distributed in joint efforts utilizing Embryome Sciences' proprietary "Embryomics" technology, its future Embryome.com online database, and technology and approved hES cell lines licensed from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF; Madison, Wisconsin).

Lifeline will contribute its manufacturing and quality control expertise backed by a staff with over 150 years of experience in the field, its facilities and technologies.

The proposed collaboration among Lifeline, BioTime and Embryome Sciences is subject to the execution of a definitive agreement.

BioTime develops blood plasma volume expanders, blood replacement solutions for hypothermic (low temperature) surgery, organ preservation solutions, and technology for use in surgery, emergency trauma treatment and other applications.