Forticell in stem cell collaboration with Korea's CJ Corp.

Forticell was created by the merger of Hapto Biotech and Ortec.

Forticell Bioscience Inc. (Bulletin Board: FORT) has signed a material transfer and technology evaluation agreement with South Korea's CJ Corporation (KRX:1041), which will use the company's Fibrin MicroBeads (FMB) technology for the extraction and expansion of mesenchymal-type stem cells from human umbilical cord blood. Sources inform ''Globes'' that the project will cost $5-10 million.

Forticell was created by the merger of Hadasit Bio Holdings Ltd. (TASE:HDST) tissue engineering portfolio company Hapto Biotech Ltd. with Ortec International Inc. two years ago. Hapto will provide the FMB technology and proprietary research protocols and methods for the umbilical stem cell recovery.

CJ Corp. and an external scientific group on cord blood-derived stem cells led by Prof. Kyung Sun Kang at the Adult Stem Cell Research Center at Seoul National University will evaluate, elaborate and optimize Hapto’s procedures toward potential commercialization for in vivo treatment to induce regeneration or repair of damaged and/or diseased tissues. If the research performed during the evaluation period is successful, both Forticell and CJ will share new intellectual properties, and also both parties may thereafter negotiate a definitive patent licensing and product development agreement.

Forticell president and CEO Dr. Costa Papastephanou said, “The combination of FMB’s proven superiority in recovering high yields of MSC and CJ expertise in working with umbilical cord blood has the potential to make a major contribution in the broad emerging therapeutic field of stem cell induced tissue regeneration.

Forticell expects to get an answer from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its more advanced product, OrCel, a collagen sponge that secretes skin cells for the treatment of chronic wounds.

Forticell closed at $0.50 yesterday, giving a market cap of $6 million. The Ortec-Hapto was made at a company value of $7-9 million for Hapto, while Ortec traded at $13. Hadasit Bio owns 4.1% of Forticell thanks to its previous stake in Hapto.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on January 15, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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