BioTime entered into an exclusive license agreement with Cornell University for the worldwide development and commercialization of technology developed at Weill Cornell Medical College for the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into vascular endothelial cells. Published last year in Nature Biotechnology, the methods reportedly provide an improved means of generating these cells on an industrial scale.
BioTime’s license covers the fields of cell therapy for age- and diabetes-related vascular diseases and cancer therapy. The license also covers products utilizing human vascular or vascular-forming cells for the purpose of enhancing the viability of the graft of other human cell types as well as for cell-based research products. The company plans to utilize the technique in products including those under development at its subsidiaries ReCyte Therapeutics, targeting age-related vascular disease, and at OncoCyte to deliver a toxic payload to cancerous tumors.
“The technology invented by Drs. Shahin Rafii and Daylon James of the Weill Cornell Medical College is both elegant and useful and may provide a means to generate virtually limitless quantities of high-quality vascular cells,” notes Joseph Wagner, Ph.D., CEO of OncoCyte. “The products derived from the combination of this technology with BioTime’s ACTCellerate™ and OncoCyte’s existing technologies to target and destroy malignant tumors may lead to an entirely new modality for the treatment of solid tumors.”
BioTime says that the Cornell technology, when combined with BioTime’s ACTCellerate platform, has successfully produced highly purified monoclonal embryonic vascular endothelium. This high level of purity and scalability is expected to facilitate the manufacture of clinical-grade cells that may be used for transplantation therapies.
Steve Kessler, Ph.D., vp of R&D of ReCyte Therapeutics, adds, “In addition to obtaining exclusive worldwide licenses to the patent-pending Cornell technology, we have entered into a sponsored research agreement with Weill Cornell Medical College that will utilize the expertise of the scientists who developed the licensed technology. This collaboration will allow ReCyte Therapeutics’ scientists to collaborate with leading scientists at Cornell in the field of vascular biology, accelerating requisite animal and preclinical testing prior to human clinical use.”