Until now, the supplying of cells and cell systems for research has been a highly fragmented and essentially a “commodity” business. Ascendance’s technology and know-how will, when funded, allow it to consolidate these markets into a single, high margin, high value added business that creates new profit sources for both Ascendance and its customers and/or partners.
Ascendance Biotechnology, Inc. (“Ascendance”) is a newly incorporated enterprise that has consolidated assets of Hepregen Corporation and the ESI BIO products division (“ESI”) of BioTime Inc., forming a leading transnational company selling cell-based assay products to the $20 billion cell biology marketplace. Hepregen has been the global leader in innovating unique, proprietary in vitro micro-liver cell-based platforms for use in safety testing, and pharmaceutical, biotherapeutic and diagnostic product development. Hepregen’s first application-oriented HepatoPac® and HepatoMune™ products have been driving a paradigm shift in drug development, forming the foundation of a sustainable core business with strong margins and high profit potential. The combination of Hepregen and ESI assets provides for a broadening of capabilities, allowing a world-class product development team to create new applications for its existing products and a suite of new products, including stem-cell-derived, HepatoStem™ products, and products comprised of additional key cell types. Moreover, applications to efficacy screening also provide Ascendance with opportunities to participate directly in the partnered development of therapeutic products.
Existing human, rat, monkey and dog HepatoPacTM products are based on proprietary micro-engineered co-cultures in which “islands” of liver cells remain alive for weeks at a time, and behave in a fashion essentially identical to liver cells in living organisms, enabling testing of new chemical entities in ways that were heretofore impossible. The utility of Ascendance products has already been established in collaboration with investigators at well-known pharmaceutical companies, such as Astra Zeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer and Roche.