BioTime and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) have inked a deal through which researchers in California will gain access to five clinical-grade human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines. Under terms of the deal, BioTime will initially provide research-grade cell lines and within a year make GMP-grade cell lines available together with documentation and complete DNA sequence information. CIRM is a stem cell agency established as part of a $3 billion funding measure in California for stem cell-related research and clinical development.
The cell lines that BioTime will be making available through the partnership include ESI-014, ESI-017, ESI-035, ESI-051, and ESI-053. Research-grade versions of the cell lines will be available to CIRM grantees and California-based researchers free of charge until the end of April 2011 for research-use only. The GMP-grade versions of the same cell lines and access to relevant documentation and genome DNA sequence information will be made available, at cost-price, by November 22, 2011. Organizations looking to use the GMP cell lines for therapeutic or other commercial applications will have to pay BioTime future royalties on sales of resulting products. BioTime will also retain the rights to exploit its cell lines for research and therapeutic applications.
BioTime president and CEO Michael D. West, Ph.D., says that as well as providing his firm with a potential future royalty stream, the deal with CIRM will likely provide benefits in terms of expanding scientific knowledge. “The publication of 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,” he states.