BioTime becomes Hadasit Bio partner in stem cell unit

BioTime acquired the firm which holds a 49% stake in Hadasit Bio company CellCure.

US biotech company BioTime Inc. (AMEX: BTIM) has become the partner of Hadasit Bio Holdings Ltd. (TASE:HDST) in CellCure Neurosciences Ltd. by acquiring Singapore-based ES Cell International Pte Ltd. in a share swap deal. BioTime's acquisition of ES Cell closed on May 3.

Bio Time issued 1,383,400 shares, and warrants to buy an additional 300,000 shares at an exercise price of $10 per share, in exchange for all of ES Cell's shares and convertible promissary notes.

BioTime also acquired a promissary note issued by ES Cell to another ES Cell investor. The note's principal and accrued interest was about $35 million.

Cell Cure is developing cell therapies for retinal and neural degenerative diseases, using therapeutic cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. The company's OpRegen product is intended for use in retinal cell transplants in patients with age related macular degeneration (AMD). The company says that the product could be among the first human embryonic stem cell-based products to reach clinical trials.

Hadasit Bio owns 34% of CellCure and ES Cell owns 49%.

ES Cell, founded in 2000, develops human embryonic stem cells, and has produces several stem cell lines. BioTime plans to combine the newly-acquired assets with its ACTCellerate and ReCyte technologies to accelerate the development of numerous human therapeutic products.

BioTime president and CEO Dr. Michael West said, "The combination of ES Cell's assets with BioTime give the combined company a broad manufacturing platform for a wide array of potential human therapeutic products." BioTime will place three representatives on CellCure's board.

BioTime signed a convertible loan agreement with CellCure in the amount of $250,000.

Hadasit Bio attributes great importance to the deal, in that BioTime is in the same field of research as CellCure, which will promote its activity, and BioTime will inject capital into CellCure, which ES Cell did not do. In addition, BioTime has substantial assets that will add value to CellCure and will speed up development of its products.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on July 14, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010

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