Following a series of recent press releases, BioTime Inc. has announced that two of its shareholders have completed funding of the second tranche of their equity investments by exercising their rights to purchase additional warrants and shares in the company.
Specifically, George Karfunkel and Broadwood Partners, L.P. have each purchased an additional 1,100,000 shares of common stock and 1,100,000 stock purchase warrants, which therefore yielded a cumulative payment of $4,000,000 to BioTime. Although substantially equivalent to the publically traded stock, BioTime’s warrants entitle the investors to the right to purchase additional common shares at an exercise price of $2 per share, before the expiration date of the warrants which is October 31, 2010.
According to Michael West, Ph.D., CEO of BioTime, "The $8,000,000 of new equity capital we have raised since May from these investors, plus our $4,700,000 research grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, will be available to finance our strategic programs to build our product and technology portfolios in the emerging fields of stem cell research and regenerative medicine. BioTime’s recent steps toward creating an independent board of directors and raising additional capital are consistent with our goal of establishing BioTime as a leader in the emerging field of regenerative medicine, and are necessary steps in qualifying the Company for relisting on a national exchange. BioTime could receive more than $24,000,000 of additional equity capital if all of its class of publicly traded warrants and the warrants sold to Broadwood Partners, L.P. and Mr. Karfunkel are ultimately exercised prior to the October 2010 expiration date."
Headquarterd in Alameda, California, BioTime is focused on the development and commercialization of technology and products related to blood plasma volume expanders for use in emergency trauma treatment, surgery and related applications. Its wholly owned subsidiary Embryome Sciences is "focused on developing an array of research and therapeutic products using human embryonic stem cell technology", as described on the personal website of Michael West, Ph.D., molecular gerontologist and BioTime’s CEO. Prior to his work with BioTime, Dr. West founded the Geron Corporation, which received FDA approval earlier this year to commence the first human clinical trials ever to be conducted with hESCs.
Contrary to widespread misconception, embryonic stem cell research has been alive and well for years in the U.S., even throughout the entirety of the Bush administration, and nowhere is there a better example of this fact than in the continued funding by private investors of embryonic stem cell companies such as BioTime and Geron. Such investors apparently have unlimited supplies of patience as well as money, however, since embryonic stem cell research has yet to yield any concrete, tangible results which can actually be applied to clinical therapies.
BioTime’s stock closed slightly higher today, at $3.20.
(Please see the related news articles on this website, including those entitled, "New Members Added to BioTime’s Board of Directors", dated July 7, 2009, and "BioTime Announces Agreement With Millipore", dated July 9, 2009).