Capital infusion provides funding to advance Asterias’ therapeutic programs
Substantially strengthens Asterias’ cash position
June 17, 2014
BioTime, Inc. announced today that its subsidiary Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. (“Asterias”), has raised $12.5 million through the sale of 5,000,000 BioTime common shares held by Asterias and the issuance of warrants to purchase 5,000,000 shares of Asterias Series B Common Stock. The majority of the funds raised through this privately negotiated transaction will be used to finance Asterias’ product development programs, including AST-OPC1 for the treatment of spinal cord injury, and AST-VAC2, which is being developed as an immunotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer. The investors included BioTime’s largest shareholder and a trust established by another long-term BioTime shareholder. In addition, as reported earlier today, Pedro Lichtinger, Asterias’ President and Chief Executive Officer, has invested $0.5 million directly into Asterias through the purchase of 200,000 shares of Asterias Series B Common Stock.
The investors purchased 5,000,000 BioTime common shares from Asterias at a price of $2.50 per share. The investors have agreed not to offer or sell any of those shares for a period of 275 days. The financing is the result of negotiations that began in mid-May. The weighted average price of BioTime common stock for the 20 day period prior to the sale was $2.80. The investors also received from Asterias warrants, expiring in one year, to purchase 5,000,000 shares of Asterias Series B common stock at an exercise price of $2.34 per share. If the warrants are exercised in full, then Asterias will receive an additional $11,700,000.
“This stock sale, when combined with a recent $14.3 million research and development grant approved by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine for the clinical development of AST-OPC1, substantially increases the funding available for Asterias’ development of its lead product candidates for treatment of patients with serious unmet medical needs,” said Mr. Lichtinger. “We thank our investors for their support as we pursue our goal of delivering innovative treatments that may extend the lives or improve the quality of life for a great many patients for whom there are presently no effective alternative treatments.”
Asterias Biotherapeutics is a biotechnology company focused on the emerging field of regenerative medicine. Our core technologies center on stem cells capable of becoming all of the cell types in the human body, a property called pluripotency. We plan to develop therapies based on pluripotent stem cells to treat diseases or injuries in a variety of medical fields, with an initial focus on the therapeutic applications of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (AST-OPC1) and antigen-presenting dendritic cells (AST-VAC1 and AST-VAC2) for the fields of neurology and oncology respectively. AST-OPC1 was tested for treatment of spinal cord injury in the world’s first Phase 1 clinical trial using human embryonic stem cell-derived cells. We plan to seek FDA clearance to reinitiate clinical testing of AST-OPC1 in spinal cord injury this year, and are also evaluating its function in nonclinical models of multiple sclerosis and stroke. AST-VAC1 and AST-VAC2 are dendritic cell-based vaccines designed to immunize cancer patients against telomerase, a protein abnormally expressed in over 95% of human cancer types. AST-VAC2 differs from AST-VAC1 in that the dendritic cells presenting telomerase to the immune system are produced from human embryonic stem cells instead of being derived from human blood.
In October of 2013, Asterias acquired the cell therapy assets of Geron Corporation. These assets included INDs for the clinical stage AST-OPC1 and AST-VAC1 programs, banks of cGMP-manufactured AST-OPC1 drug product, cGMP master and working cell banks of human embryonic stem cells, over 400 patents and patent applications filed worldwide including broad issued claims to fundamental platform technologies for the scalable growth of pluripotent stem cells and compositions of matter for several hESC-derived therapeutic cell types, research cell banks, customized reagents and equipment, and various assets relating to the AST-VAC2 program and preclinical programs in cardiology and orthopedics.
Asterias is a member of the BioTime family of companies.
Additional information about Asterias can be found at www.asteriasbiotherapeutics.com.
BioTime is a biotechnology company engaged in research and product development in the field of regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine refers to therapies based on stem cell technology that are designed to rebuild cell and tissue function lost due to degenerative disease or injury. BioTime’s focus is on pluripotent stem cell technology based on human embryonic stem (“hES”) cells and induced pluripotent stem (“iPS”) cells. hES and iPS cells provide a means of manufacturing every cell type in the human body and therefore show considerable promise for the development of a number of new therapeutic products. BioTime’s therapeutic and research products include a wide array of proprietary PureStem® progenitors, HyStem® hydrogels, culture media, and differentiation kits. BioTime is developing Renevia™ (a HyStem® product) as a biocompatible, implantable hyaluronan and collagen-based matrix for cell delivery in human clinical applications, and is planning to initiate a pivotal clinical trial around Renevia™, in 2014. In addition, BioTime has developedHextend®, a blood plasma volume expander for use in surgery, emergency trauma treatment and other applications. Hextend® is manufactured and distributed in the U.S. by Hospira, Inc. and in South Korea by CJ HealthCare Corporation, under exclusive licensing agreements.
BioTime is also developing stem cell and other products for research, therapeutic, and diagnostic use through its subsidiaries:
- Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. is developing pluripotent stem-cell based therapies in neurology and oncology, including AST-OPC1 oligodendrocyte progenitor cells in spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and stroke, and AST-VAC2, an allogeneic dendritic cell-based cancer vaccine.
- BioTime Asia, Ltd., a Hong Kong company, may offer and sell products for research use for BioTime’s ESI BIO Division.
- Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd. is an Israel-based biotechnology company focused on developing stem cell-based therapies for retinal and neurological disorders, including the development of retinal pigment epithelial cells for the treatment of macular degeneration, and treatments for multiple sclerosis.
- ESI BIO is the research and product marketing division of BioTime, providing stem cell researchers with products and technologies to enable them to translate their work into the clinic, including PureStem® progenitors and HyStem® hydrogels.
- LifeMap Sciences, Inc. markets, sells, and distributes GeneCards®, the leading human gene database, as part of an integrated database suite that also includes the LifeMap Discovery® database of embryonic development, stem cell research, and regenerative medicine, and MalaCards, the human disease database.
- LifeMap Solutions, Inc. is a subsidiary of LifeMap Sciences focused on developing mobile health (mHealth) products.
- OncoCyte Corporation is developing products and technologies to diagnose and treat cancer, including PanC-Dx™, with three clinical trials currently underway.
- OrthoCyte Corporation is developing therapies to treat orthopedic disorders, diseases and injuries.
- ReCyte Therapeutics, Inc. is developing therapies to treat a variety of cardiovascular and related ischemic disorders, as well as products for research using cell reprogramming technology.