MEDFORD, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Ascendance Biotechnology, Inc. (“Ascendance”), a leader in the commercialization of in vitro cell-based products and stem cell-related laboratory products, announced the execution of an Agreement with GE Healthcare (NYSE:GE) providing Ascendance a right to manufacture, market and sell the GE Healthcare Cytiva® brand of human stem cell-derived heart muscle cells (“cardiomyocytes”) used for evaluating potential cardiotoxicity. The Cytiva® product joins the first Ascendance stem cell-derived product, VascuNetTM, which is used for analyzing the capability of cancer drug candidates to inhibit the formation of blood vessels (angiogenesis), and which is also being evaluated as a tool for understanding the toxicologic effects of drug candidates on the cells lining the walls of blood vessels (endothelial cells).
Existing Ascendance HepatoPac® and HepatoMune® products, which contain liver cells (hepatocytes), and which are designed for in vitro metabolite analysis, and toxicology and efficacy screening, are already helping to address inefficiencies in the development of pharmaceuticals, agro-chemicals and other products that may contain new chemical entities. The addition of the Cytiva® cardiomyocytes to the Ascendance product line is expected to further solidify the Company’s leadership position in the in vitro toxicology testing market, which may reach more than $17 billion by 2018 according to the Market and Markets research and consulting firm.
“The execution of this Agreement represents another important step in the broadening of current Ascendance product lines,” stated Dr. Vincent Zurawski, Ascendance chief executive officer. Dr. Zurawski added, “We are delighted to report on the establishment of this important business relationship, which follows the completion of the arrangement between Hepregen Corporation and the ESI BIO division of BioTime, Inc. (NYSE MKT: BTX) that established the foundational assets of Ascendance. We are confident that continuing to establish important business partnerships will strengthen our ability to accelerate the Company’s leadership position in a rapidly growing cell biology market, while simultaneously increasing Company value for Ascendance stakeholders.”
Jeffrey Janus, President of Ascendance, also commented, “The execution of this Agreement with a company as prestigious as GE Healthcare helps to validate our approach to new product development and also to strengthen the breadth of our global footprint. The continued expansion of the Company’s offerings beyond liver cell-based products to include both products and services based on multiple cell types, is expected to augment revenue growth for Ascendance, which is currently driven primarily by our line of HepatoPac® and HepatoMune® micro-patterned co-culture products.”
About Ascendance Biotechnology, Inc.
Ascendance Biotechnology, Inc. (“Ascendance”) is a leader in innovating unique and proprietary bioengineered in vitro assay platforms and laboratory products for use in environmental testing, preventive care, and product development in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical, diagnostic, cosmetics, and chemical industries. The Company’s application-directed micro-liver and micropatterned co-culture, cell-based assay kits are intended to drive a paradigm shift in drug development. The utility of the Company’s human, rat, monkey, dog, and multi-species/multi-donor HepatoPac® and HepatoMune® products has been validated in collaboration with investigators at several well-known pharmaceutical companies. Ascendance was founded as a successor to Hepregen Corporation (“Hepregen”) and the ESI BIO Division of BioTime, Inc. (“BioTime”). Ascendance develops its own proprietary intellectual property and has also licensed technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (“MIT”), Colorado State University, BioTime, and also ES Cell International PTE Ltd. (“ESI”) and ReCyte Therapeutics, Inc., both wholly owned subsidiaries of BioTime.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release may contain forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements reflect Ascendance expectations about future operating results, performance and opportunities that involve substantial risk and uncertainties. These statements include but are not limited to statements regarding the performance and results of the company’s HepatoPac® and other kits. When used herein, the words “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “upcoming,” “plan,” “target,” “intend” and “expect” and similar expressions, as they relate to Ascendance Biotechnology, Inc. or the management of either company are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to the Company, and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause the Company’s actual results, performance, prospects and opportunities to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements.