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Geron’s Stem Cell Program Sold

The company, which launched the first ever clinical trial for a human embryonic stem cell therapy before shuttering its stem cell arm, has finally struck a deal with BioTime.

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst was managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, NISSIM BENVENISTYIn late 2011, the Geron Corp. announced that it would be discontinuing its stem cell research program, including an ongoing Phase 1 trial for a human embryonic stem cell (hESC) treatment for spinal cord injury. Nearly a year later, two former Geron CEOs expressed that their new company, the San Francisco-based BioTime, would be interested in purchasing Geron’s stem cell and regenerative medicine business.

Now, nearly another year later, the sale has gone through. The deal, announced yesterday (October 1), is “a complex stock-swapping and intellectual property deal, including a new subsidiary called Asterias Biotherapeutics Inc.,” reported the San Francisco Business Times, but in the end, BioTime has acquired all of Geron’s hESC assets and the rights to some of its stem cell lines.

New Asterias CEO Thomas Okarma, who was dismissed from his position as Geron president and CEO in February 2011, told the...

In exchange for these cell lines, Geron is set to receive some 6.5 million shares of Asterias, amounting to 21.4 percent stake in the subsidiary, along with undisclosed royalties in the case that the research is eventually commercialized, FierceBiotech reported.

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