There have been several revolutions in biotechnology that open the door to many new products and technologies. The first, recombinant DNA technology, allowed researchers for the first time to “cut-and-splice” DNA in any way they wished, thereby making it possible to assemble genes in new ways to manufacture a host of proteins like insulin, growth hormone, and erythropoietin.
The second revolution was called genomics and this technology allowed researchers to rapidly sequence and manipulate gene sequence information. Both recombinant DNA technology and genomics spawned the development and growth of many of today’s leading biotechnology companies.
In our opinion, regenerative medicine has the potential to be a third major revolution in biotechnology. Empowered by the discovery of human embryonic stem (ES) cells, regenerative medicine now has the potential to produce any human cell type genetically modified in any way, to be used in the treatment of a host of degenerative diseases. Stem cells may also have commercial uses in the development of experimental new drugs. Under the leadership of Dr. Michael D. West, who pioneered this industry after he founded Geron Corporation and later during his tenure at Advanced Cell Technology, BioTime intends to become a significant biotechnology company in this emerging sector, focusing on near-term commercialization opportunities.
For more background information about human pluripotent stem cells, please read the National Institutes of Health Director’s Statement on Research Using Stem Cells.