The U.S. company BioTime Inc. and the the Hong Kong company Nashan Memorial Medical Institute today announced the collabortive formation of a new BioTime subsidiary.
The new company, to be known as BioTime Asia, will be focused on the development and commercialization throughout China and other Asian nations of stem cell products for occular, hematologic and musculoskeletal treatments. Dr. Lu Daopei, who pioneered China’s first successful adult stem cell transplant from bone marrow, will advise BioTime Asia with the management of clinical trials. It is expected, however, that the emphasis of BioTime Asia’s future clinical trials throughout the Far East will be on human embryonic, not adult, stem cells.
Based in Alameda, California, BioTime is engaged in a number of various medical specializations which include the development of artificial blood plasma solutions for trauma and surgery, in addition to the R&D of low temperature "suspended animation" medicine, and, of course, ongoing embryonic stem cell research, for which the company is perhaps best known. Dr. Michael West, BioTime’s CEO, is also the founder of Geron which has frequently been in news headlines over the past year for its highly controversial human embryonic stem cell (hESC) clinical trials, which were brought to an abrupt halt before they even began, due to an FDA "hold" that was recently imposed. No doubt the decision to transfer hESC clinical trials outside of the U.S. to Asian countries – where regulatory agencies and laws are significantly different from those of the U.S. FDA – was an executive calculation not entirely uninfluenced by the recent FDA-imposed "hold" on Geron’s clinical trials.
Financial terms of the new agreement were not disclosed.