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GE Healthcare, Geron Partner on Stem Cell-Based Assays

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – GE Healthcare and Geron jointly announced today that they will collaborate on developing and selling human embryonic stem cell-based assays for drug discovery, development, and toxicity screening.

GE Healthcare received an exclusive license under Geron's intellectual property portfolio covering the growth and differentiation of hESCs, as well as a sublicense under Geron's rights to the foundational hESC patents held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. The firms established a multi-year alliance, under which scientists from the companies will work together to develop hESC-based products for drug discovery.

The collaboration will use stem cells derived from hESC lines listed on the NIH Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Registry, the firms said. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

However, they noted that GE Healthcare will fund R&D efforts and will be responsible for manufacturing, sales, and distribution of products developed under the agreement. In addition, intellectual property rights arising from the research will be shared, with GE Healthcare receiving rights for the development of drug discovery technologies, and Geron receiving rights for cell therapy applications.

The partners hope to have the first products from the alliance on the market by early 2010, with a pipeline of additional assays to follow.

"Combining GE Healthcare's reach into the drug discovery and research markets, as well our expertise in cell manufacturing, with Geron's expertise and IP in hESCs, means that together, we will be able to accelerate the development of hESC-derived products for drug discovery and development," Konstantin Fiedler, general manager of cell technologies for GE Healthcare, said in a statement.

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