Regenerative medicine company BioTime expanded its ophthalmology portfolio through the acquisition of global rights to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s (UPMC) stem cell-derived retinal repair platform IP. The cell therapy technology, developed in partnership with BioTime, generates 3-D retinal tissue from human pluripotent stem cells for use as implants to repair retinas in patients with advanced retinal degradation. The licensing deal has been made through UPMC’s Innovation Institute.

“We anticipate that this technology, co-developed with the UPMC lab for retinal repair and epigenetics, will allow us to generate three-dimensional laminated human retinal tissue in a controlled manufacturing process,” said Michael D. West, Ph.D., co-CEO of BioTime. “This could lead to vision restoration treatments for a variety of blinding retinal degenerative diseases, particularly retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy, among other diseases and conditions.” 

BioTime has developed its PureStem® pluripotent stem cell technology for generating cell therapies against a range of degenerative diseases. The firm’s clinical pipeline includes cell therapies for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related lipoatrophy, macular degeneration, leukemia, and spinal cord injury. The lead program, against HIV-related lipatrophy, is undergoing pivotal clinical trials. Preclinical programs are in development against non-small-cell lung cancer and orthopedics. BioTime is separately developing its HyStem® hydrogel technology for culturing and delivering therapeutic cells. Its majority-owned OncoCyte subsidiary is leveraging stem cell expertise to develop noninvasive gene expression-based cancer diagnostics.  

At the start of 2017, BioTime and its majority-owned subsidiary Cell Cure Neurosciences established a 8600-ft2 cGMP cell therapy manufacturing facility in Jerusalem.

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