Geron and CXR Conclude Collaboration to Develop In Vitro Assays Using hESC-Derived Hepatocytes
MENLO PARK, Calif., and Dundee, Scotland, April 24, 2007 – Geron Corporation (Nasdaq: GERN) and CXR Biosciences Ltd. today announced the conclusion of a research collaboration that focused on the development of human embryonic stem cell (hESC)–derived hepatocytes for use in in vitro assays of drug metabolism and toxicity.
Geron and CXR will equally share rights to intellectual property developed during the collaboration. Established in May 2004 between Geron, CXR and the Roslin Institute, the collaboration resulted in the successful development of enhanced protocols for the derivation of hepatocytes from hESCs, as well as intellectual property related to the use of gene–reporter constructs in combination with hESC–derived hepatocytes.
"We anticipate leveraging the intellectual property developed under the collaboration in commercial applications," said David L. Greenwood, Geron’s executive vice president.
Dr. Tom Shepherd, chief executive of CXR commented, "This collaboration has demonstrated that human stem cells have the potential to be differentiated into hepatocytes with utility for the generation of metabolic, toxicological and mechanistic information, which can be further enhanced through the inclusion of gene expression reporter systems."
Sourcing of human hepatocytes for in vitro assays is a fundamental bottleneck in pharmaceutical drug development. Primary human hepatocytes have been used for drug metabolism and hepatotoxicity studies and have been sourced traditionally from cadavers or liver resections. However, the phenotype and age of these cells varies widely because of differences among the sourced donors.
Additionally, because hepatocyte function cannot be sustained in culture for more than a few days, the availability of primary hepatocytes is dependent on repetitive sourcing, creating supply constraints and further contributing to assay variability. Pharmaceutical companies have had to rely on animal models for routine preclinical metabolism and toxicity testing, which are often not predictive for man. hESC–derived hepatocyte technology presents a unique opportunity to address the bottleneck in drug discovery by providing standardized human hepatocyte lines and gene–reporter cell lines as a drug screening tool.
Undifferentiated hESCs maintain pluripotency and stable karyotypes after years in culture, providing a limitless supply of uniform source material. Geron has issued patents covering hepatocyte cells differentiated from hESCs and methods of drug screening using hepatocyte cells differentiated from hESCs and CXR has issued patents covering gene reporter systems.
CXR Biosciences is a solutions provider applying new models and approaches for drug discovery and development, and the assessment of risks to humans of chemicals. Using proprietary post–genomic models for the evaluation of drug metabolism and toxicity, CXR works with customers and collaborators, including major pharmaceutical companies, industrial chemical companies and small drug discovery companies. For more information, visit the company’s website: www.cxrbiosciences.com.
Geron is developing first–in–class biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer and degenerative diseases, including spinal cord injury, heart failure, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. The company is advancing an anti–cancer drug and a cancer vaccine that target the enzyme telomerase through multiple clinical trials. Geron is also the world leader in the development of human embryonic stem cell–based therapeutics, with its spinal cord injury treatment anticipated to be the first product to enter clinical development. For more information, visit www.geron.com.
This news release may contain forward–looking statements made pursuant to the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned that such forward–looking statements in this press release regarding potential applications of Geron’s human embryonic stem cell technology constitute forward–looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and commercialization of potential products, uncertainty of clinical trial results or regulatory approvals or clearances, need for future capital, dependence upon collaborators and maintenance of our intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward–looking statements. Additional information on potential factors that could affect our results and other risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in Geron’s periodic reports, including the annual report on Form 10–K for the year ended December 31, 2006.
Media: David Schull, Noonan Russo, 858–717–2310, email@example.com
Investors: Matthew Haines, Noonan Russo, 212–845–4235, firstname.lastname@example.org
At Geron: David L. Greenwood, Chief Financial Officer, 650–473–7765, email@example.com
At CXR: Dr. Tom Shepherd, Chief Executive, +44 (0)1382 432163, TomShepherd@cxrbiosciences.com
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