Blood products and regenerative medicines company BioTime is setting up an Asian subsidiary based at the Nanshan Memorial Medical Institute (NSMMI) in Hong Kong. BioTime Asia will develop and market therapeutic stem cell products in the People’s Republic of China and market stem cell research products in China and other Asian territories.
Its initial therapeutic focus will be on ophthalmologic, skin, musculoskeletal, and hematologic diseases. BioTime says that other potential products could include tumor-targeting stem cells for the treatment of currently incurable forms of cancer.
BioTime and its existing subsidiary, Embryome Sciences, have granted BioTime Asia a license to specific stem cell technologies. They will also sell the new business stem cell products for therapeutic use and for resale as research products. BioTime Asia will then license back to BioTime (legal regulations permitting) any new technologies it acquires or develops for use outside China.
NSMMI will become a minority shareholder in the BioTime Asia and is providing the initial laboratory facilities and research personnel. It will also arrange financing for clinical trials.
BioTime admitted its therapeutic pipeline is at a very early stage of development. As a result, either the company or the NSMMI may terminate their agreement if specific clinical trial milestones are not met, including the start of the first clinical investigation within two years.