ALAMEDA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BioTime, Inc. (NYSE MKT:BTX), a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing products addressing degenerative diseases, has been awarded a new grant for 2017 of up to 7.2 million Israeli New Shekels (approximately $2 million) from the Israel Innovation Authority (the “IIA”). The grant provides funding for the continued development of OpRegen®, and to date the IIA has provided annual grants totaling approximately $12 million.
OpRegen® is currently in a Phase I/IIa dose-optimization clinical study, which in July 2017 received authorization from the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) to move forward with enrollment of cohort 3. In cohort 3, BioTime plans to treat patients at sites in Israel and the U.S. Data reported to date have shown continued engraftment through the one year follow-up with encouraging potential structural improvement. In addition, no serious adverse events have been reported, indicating a continued favorable safety profile. BioTime expects to share more data at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) later this year.
“This new grant demonstrates the continued high level of support and confidence that the Israel Innovation Authority has in our development of cell therapy-based treatments,” said Adi Mohanty, co-Chief Executive Officer of BioTime.
As noted above, the grant was awarded by the IIA for the development of OpRegen® to Cell Cure Neurosciences, a majority-owned subsidiary of BioTime.
OpRegen®, which is being studied for the treatment of the dry form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), consists of a suspension of Retinal Pigment Epithelial (RPE) cells that are delivered subretinally during a simple intraocular injection. RPE cells are essential components of the back lining of the retina, and function to help nourish the retina including photoreceptors. A proprietary process that drives the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells is used to generate high purity OpRegen® RPE cells. OpRegen® RPE cells are also “xeno-free," meaning that no animal products are used at any point in the derivation and production process. The avoidance of the use of animal products eliminates some potential safety concerns. Preclinical studies in rats have shown that following a single subretinal injection of OpRegen®, the cells can rapidly organize into its natural monolayer structure in the subretinal space and survive throughout the lifetime of the animal. OpRegen® is designed to be an “off-the-shelf” allogeneic (non-patient specific) product. Unlike treatments that require multiple, frequent injections into the eye, it is expected that OpRegen® would be administered in a single procedure. OpRegen® was granted Fast Track designation from FDA, which allows more frequent interactions with the agency, and eligibility for accelerated approval and priority review. OpRegen® is a registered trademark of Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd., a majority-owned subsidiary of BioTime, Inc.
BioTime is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing products addressing degenerative diseases. Its clinical programs are based on two platform technologies: pluripotent cells and cell/drug delivery. The foundation of BioTime’s core therapeutic technology platform is pluripotent cells that are capable of becoming any of the cell types in the human body. The foundation of the Company’s cell delivery platform is its HyStem® cell and drug delivery matrix technology. The Company’s current clinical programs are targeting three primary sectors, aesthetics, ophthalmology and cell/drug delivery. BioTime also has significant equity holdings in two publicly traded companies, Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. (“Asterias”) and OncoCyte Corporation (“OncoCyte”).
BioTime common stock is traded on the NYSE MKT and TASE under the symbol BTX. For more information, please visit www.biotimeinc.com or connect with the company on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and Google+.
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Certain statements contained in this release are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements pertaining to future financial and/or operating results, future growth in research, technology, clinical development, and potential opportunities for BioTime, Inc. and its subsidiaries, along with other statements about the future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans, or prospects expressed by management constitute forward-looking statements. Any statements that are not historical fact (including, but not limited to statements that contain words such as “will,” “believes,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “estimates” should also be considered to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and/or commercialization of potential products, uncertainty in the results of clinical trials or regulatory approvals, need and ability to obtain future capital, and maintenance of intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements and as such should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect the business of BioTime, Inc. and its subsidiaries, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements found in more detail in the “Risk Factors” section of its Annual Reports on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC (copies of which may be obtained at www.sec.gov). Subsequent events and developments may cause these forward-looking statements to change. BioTime specifically disclaims any obligation or intention to update or revise these forward-looking statements as a result of changed events or circumstances that occur after the date of this release, except as required by applicable law.