Geron Selling Off Embryonic Stem Cell Technology

Geron Selling Off Embryonic Stem Cell Technology

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After nearly $450 million of equity raised and a record breaking $40 million FDA submission, Geron is throwing in the towel regarding its ground breaking embryonic stem cell therapy to treat nerve damaged patients.

Under the FDA trial, Geron had treated four patients—total.

Roughly a year ago the company fired its long time CEO Thomas Okarma and last week new Geron CEO John Scarlett told industry executives at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco that his company had recruited St. Louis-based broker Stifel Nicolaus to help it sell off its cell therapies, according to a report inFierce Biotech.

In 2010, Geron officials announced that the firm intended to stop clinical trials in spinal injury patients and sell its embryonic stem cell therapy program. According to theFierce Biotech writer Suzanne Elvidge on January 12, Geron is in active discussions with potential partners. The stem cell programs are, at the present time, in preclinical and clinical development and include potential therapies for central nervous system disorders, heart disease, diabetes, immunotherapy and cartilage repair.

Geron officials indicated that it will tighten the firm’s focus on its cancer therapies. It has two agents in Phase II clinical trials, with results expected in late 2012. If these are successful, Phase II proof-of-concept data will give the company a solid scientific base to seek further partnerships or collaborations.

“Every company has to make decisions about what it can do, not just what it aspires, or would like to do,” Scarlett told Bloomberg. The official indicated that Geron has enough money to get through the clinical trials this year without seeking further funding, and the sale of the cell therapies could further boost funding.

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