MENLO PARK, Calif.—Geron Corp. in January announced a worldwide license agreement with Cambrex Bio Science Walkersville Inc. under which the Cambrex subsidiary will develop and distribute cell lines that have been immortalized using Geron's proprietary telomerase technology.
"We believe that telomerase-immortalized cells could bring significant advantages to the drug screening process. We expect to develop a range of telomerized cell types to meet the needs of our customers," says Dave Eansor, president of Cambrex Bioproducts. "We plan initially to market these cells to our pharmaceutical and biotechnology customers through our specialized sales team that has expertise in high-throughput screening. In addition, telomerized cell systems will be complementary to our Clonetics and Poietics normal human cell systems."
Under the terms of the non-exclusive agreement, Cambrex Bio Science will develop telomerized cell lines and associated products such as media. Cambrex Bio Science will provide the telomerized cells under license to customers for life science research, including drug development activities such as toxicity testing and high-throughput screening. Cambrex may also use telomerized cells for custom drug screening services. Geron has retained all rights for the use of telomerized cells in therapeutic applications.
The agreement also provides Cambrex with a research license to study the possible use of telomerized cells for biomanufacturing, along with an option to enter into a license agreement for the use of telomerase in commercial biomanufacturing. Geron will receive an upfront license fee payment and royalties on product sales.
"Numerous published research studies have demonstrated the value of telomerized cells as tools to study particular genes, pathways, or cellular responses to drugs," says David J. Earp, J.D., Ph.D., Geron's senior vice president of business development and chief patent counsel. "We are now seeing a strong interest in the use of these cells for drug discovery within biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Cambrex has a well-deserved reputation as the leader in producing and marketing human cell systems to these sectors, and we are very pleased to have entered into this agreement with Cambrex."