Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs) are a key component in the emerging field of regenerative medicine. Embryonic stem cells exist naturally for a short time in an embryo, but they can be isolated under strict ethical and scientific conditions and cultured in the laboratory to virtually unlimited numbers – while retaining their remarkable ability to become any cell type. Thus hESCs have great potential to replace cells and tissues lost or damaged due to chronic degenerative diseases and injuries that cannot be cured using current medical technologies.
BioTime is a world leader in hESC technologies, having the most comprehensive portfolio of intellectual property in the field. Dr. Michael West, BioTime’s CEO, is a pioneer of the regenerative medicine industry. He founded Geron Corporation which funded the pivotal discovery of how to grow human embryonic stem cells in the laboratory, thus unleashing the enormous potential of hESC technology to cure chronic degenerative diseases and injuries. BioTime’s subsidiary ES Cell International Pte. Ltd. (Singapore), is the first company in the world to make cell banks of hESC suitable for clinical use. BioTime provides these clinical grade hESC to researchers and companies across the world under commercial license agreements. These hESC are also included in the National Institute of Health Stem Cell Registry, making them eligible for federal funding.
BioTime and its family of companies focus on developing hESC technologies to change or “differentiate” hESC into various cell types with therapeutic potential.
A type of nerve cell called an oligodendrocyte progenitor cell for the treatment of spinal injury though its subsidiary Asterias Biotherapeutics (currently entering stage II clinical trials).
Clonally derived human Embryonic Progenitor (hEP) cells called PureStem progenitors. These hEP are highly prolific and provide pure cultures with simplified differentiation pathways to therapeutic cell types and thus may be safer and less expensive for therapeutic use. Human EPC, provided as PureStem® progenitors, provide pure cultures of stem cells with simplified differentiation pathways that may allow lower manufacturing cost and safer therapeutic cells. PureStem hEPC are being utilized by BioTime’s subsidiary OrthoCyte to address bone and disc repair for chronic back pain and by ReCyte to regenerate blood vessels for treatment of cardiovascular disease.