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BioTime forms new subsidiary, OrthoCyte, to develop treatments for orthopedic conditions using stem cell technology
ALAMEDA, Calif.—BioTime Inc., a biotech company focused on regenerative medicine and blood plasma volume expanders, has organized a new subsidiary, OrthoCyte Corp., for the purpose of developing novel therapeutics based on stem cell technology for the treatment of injuries and disorders affecting the musculoskeletal system, including therapeutics that would regenerate bone, cartilage, tendons and ligaments. BioTime will transfer certain patents and license certain technology to OrthoCyte for use in the field of orthopedic therapies.
It isn't the first time the company has created a subsidiary. It also develops and markets research products in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine through its wholly owned subsidiary Embryome Sciences Inc., and it formed the subsidiary OncoCyte Corp. to focus on the therapeutic applications of stem cell technology in cancer.
As for the current subsidiary launch, "A wide array of novel and potentially valuable therapies have been made possible by the development of human embryonic stem cell technology," says Dr. Michael West, BioTime's CEO. "The formation of OrthoCyte is another step in BioTime's long-term strategy to create value for our shareholders by forming subsidiaries focused on specific therapeutic applications of our technology."
In addition to the previously organizations of OncoCyte and Embryome Sciences, he noted his company's formation of BioTime Asia Ltd., and the acquisition of ES Cell International Pte. Ltd., which offer the possibility of accelerating the commercialization of diverse therapeutic and research applications of stem cells in China and other countries in Asia.
Dr. Arnold I. Caplan, director of the Skeletal Research Center at Case Western Reserve University, will be OrthoCyte's chief scientific officer as a part-time employee while maintaining his faculty position.
"Dr. Caplan is a true luminary in stem cell-based therapies for orthopedic disorders. With his involvement, we plan to institute an aggressive collaborative program of product development," West says, noting that Caplan has authored more than 350 published papers and manuscripts relating to the development, maturation and aging of cartilage, bone, skin, other connective tissues, and mesenchymal stem cells, and that he previously founded Osiris Therapeutics Inc., a public company focused on adult mesenchymal stem cell technology.
"I am hugely interested in working to further advance the sophistication of the field of regenerative medicine where it is now possible to parse with greater purity the diverse embryonic progenitors to the musculo-skeletal system," Caplan says. "The isolation of precise embryonic progenitors to clinically-important tissues finally opens the door to the development of a wide array of powerful new cell-based therapies and tissue engineering for degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis. I look forward to working with BioTime to speed these potential therapeutics toward clinical use."