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Cambrex to Develop Cell Lines Based on Geron Telomerase Technology

NEW YORK, Jan. 12 (GenomeWeb News) - Cambrex Bio Science Walkersville will develop and distribute cell lines that have been immortalized using Geron's telomerase technology under a non-exclusive, worldwide licensing pact announced by the firms today.


The Cambrex unit will develop the cell lines and associated products such as media, and will sell the products to researchers for drug development activities such as toxicity testing and high-throughput screening. Cambrex also has the right to use the telomerized cells for custom drug-screening services.


In addition, the firm may study the possible use of telomerized cells for biomanufacturing and has agreed to an option to license use of telomerase from Geron for such purposes.


Menlo Park, Calif.-based Geron will receive an upfront license and royalties based on product sales. Further financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.


Geron, which is known primarily as a biopharmaceutical firm developing therapies and diagnostics for cancer, has been working with cell-based assay companies to commercialize products based on its in-house discoveries and its stem cell and telomerase technologies. It signed a pact earlier this year, under which American Type Culture Collection agreed to create and distribute cell lines immortalized with human telomerase reverse transcriptase.


Geron holds the intellectual property rights to both the telomerase and stem cell technologies covered under that alliance, as well as an alliance with Procter & Gamble, which will use the technologies to study the regulation of cell function and develop biological assays for drug screening.


According to Inside BioAssays, a GenomeWeb News publication, the firm also is collaborating with CXR Biosciences and the Roslin Institute to develop and commercialize human embryonic stem cell-derived hepatocytes for use in drug metabolism and toxicity screens.