About Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc.
Asterias Biotherapeutics is a subsidiary of BioTime, Inc., located in Menlo Park, California. Asterias recently acquired the stem cell assets of Geron Corporation. That acquisition includes Geron’s entire cell therapy intellectual property portfolio, contracts and license agreements related to their stem cell programs, potential products previously in clinical trials such as OPC1 (hESC-derived oligodendrocyte progenitors for the treatment of spinal cord injury) and VAC1 (dendrocytes loaded with human telomerase to train the immune system of cancer patients to recognize and potentially destroy a wide array of human cancer types), master cell banks of hESCs and therapeutic cells manufactured under cGMP conditions, research cell banks, customized reagents and equipment, and banks of cGMP-manufactured OPC1 product used in the aforementioned Phase 1 trial in spinal cord injury, the world’s first human clinical trial of hESC-derived cells.
Asterias has acquired four therapeutic programs, each with animal proof of concept, from which multiple therapeutic product candidates may be selected for development indications in the fields of neurology (including OPC1 for spinal cord injury), oncology (including VAC1 autologous dendritric cells), orthopedics, and cardiovascular therapy.
Asterias Biotherapeutics will be part of the BioTime family of companies that collectively now own or have license to a large and diverse stem cell patent portfolio, as well as a unique collection of cGMP-manufactured cells and validated cell banks, placing it among today’s leaders in regenerative medicine.
Mary Ann Dunmire
Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc.
Thomas Okarma, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc., is an internationally recognized biotechnology executive and industry pioneer, and is acknowledged as a preeminent spokesman for stem cell – based therapeutics and regenerative medicine. Serving as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Geron Corporation for 12 years, he managed the development of Geron’s human embryonic stem cell program from inception to the initiation of the world’s first FDA-authorized hESC human clinical trial in spinal cord injury – a milestone in the history of biotechnology.
Prior to Geron, Dr. Okarma was the founder and CEO of Applied Immune Sciences, which was acquired by Rhone Poulenc Rorer (RPR) in 1995. After the acquisition, he co-managed Gencell, RPR’s division of cell and gene therapy for 2 years, leading to 2 pivotal trials in gene therapy. Dr. Okarma served on the Faculty of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine for 17 years, on the Board of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) for 10 years and as Chair, Board of Overseers, Dartmouth Medical School for 5 years. Dr. Okarma is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds the MD, PhD and executive MBA degrees from Stanford University. He has authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications and is an inventor on 15 issued US patents.