January 17, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Search Results for: geron

3 min read

BioTime (BTX), via its subsidiary Asterias, has formally purchased the Geron (GERN) embryonic stem cell (ESC) research program and assets. Incidentally, Asterias in nature refers to a genus of sea stars including starfish and you can see it in their logo. Perhaps this was chosen given the amazing regenerative capacity of starfish? You may recall that Geron decided not to continue its ESC program despite having an active, FDA approved early clinical trial underway. There was great concern that the program could die, but …Read More

3 min read

When you want to both know the real history of the pluripotent stem cell-based biotech industry and perspectives on its future, there are only a handful of people to turn to and one of them is definitely Dr. Michael West, CEO of BioTime. I’m doing a several part series of blog posts on a lengthy phone interview and conversation that I had with West. Today in Part 2 we are focused on clinical development of human ES cells and what happened with Geron. You …Read More

2 min read

When biotech Geron punted on its embryonic stem cell (ESC) program despite having an ongoing FDA-approved clinical trial for spinal cord injury and tens of millions in loan funding from CIRM, many in the stem cell field were upset to put it mildly. Geron repaid the CIRM loan with interest. At the time, the general feeling was that the odds of another company picking up the ESC program from Geron were low. However, ever since, rumors have gradually been popping up more and more …Read More

2 min read

Last year one of the biggest events in the stem cell field was biotech Geron punting its embryonic stem cell (ESC) program. Much consternation followed. Some folks opposed to ESCs happily pronounced ESC research dead. Some folks in favor of ESC thought the world was ending a year early. Others tried to look on the bright side and hoped for a buyer for Geron’s ESC-related assets, but through the grapevine everything I was hearing was that that was not going to happen. Now that …Read More

2 min read

About two months about Geron shocked and disappointed the stem cell community by dropping its stem cell program. The move was reportedly made for financial, not scientific reasons. Biotech companies have to be financially sound in order to help stem cell researchers turn science into cures and Geron’s leadership had to do what it thought important. Even so, I think Geron made the wrong move and I called it the biggest misstep in the stem cell field of 2011 in  my post Stem Cell …Read More

2 min read

The grapevine is afire with the Geron news and there are many interpretations out there of what it means and why it happened. Based on several accounts from folks who remain anonymous, here is the most probable prediction of what happened to lead us to yesterday’s announcement. Geron has been worried for a long time about its finances (aren’t all biotechs worried in this way, all the time?), but this concern has been heightened more recently and was the reason that former CEO Okarma …Read More

3 min read

Yesterday Geron announced it would be immediately stopping its stem cell research program. What does this mean? While this program has (or should I say “had”) a number of elements, at its heart was of course its hESC-based OPC drug (GRNOPC1) for spinal cord injury, which was in an FDA-approved Phase I Clinical Trial that had already enrolled 4 patients. While the company will continue to follow these patients and keep a limited core staff of stem cell employees for a short period of …Read More

2 min read

Geron abruptly announced today that it will no longer pursue its spinal cord injury trial using oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) derived from hESC. Several sources indicate that Geron is hoping to find a buyer of its drug for this trial, GRNOPC1 and the hope is that the trial could be rescued in a sense. Why did Geron drop its stem cell program after spending millions on it and having most of a $25 million loan from CIRM unspent? What I’m hearing is that it …Read More

1 min read

Reportedly, Geron has decided to only focus on cancer research and for financial reasons has shut down its hESC trial for spinal cord injury. This is a very sad day for stem cell science. (Update in 2020: the firm still exists, but is working in different areas. The stock has struggled.) No more spinal cord injury patients will be treated in the Geron former clinical trial. This leaves Advanced Cell Technology as the only biotech conducting active clinical trials on hESC-based products. One has …Read More

2 min read

Advanced Cell Technology  (ACT) announced today that it has treated two patients in its clinical trials: one for Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy (see official trial page for a lot more info) and one for Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration (see official trial page here for a lot more info). The patients underwent the treatment at UCLA and each reportedly received about 50,000 cells as a transplant into the eye. The cells being used are retinal pigmented epithelial cells produced from human embryonic stem cells (hESC). The primary …Read More