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BioTime (NYSEMKT:BTX) of California has signed up Shanghai Genext Medical Technology as the China marketer of its ACTCellerate cell lines, a highly purified source of progenitor cells. Genext will also sell BioTime’s cell cultures, which are customized for each line.

ACTCellerate is BioTime’s proprietary technology that allows the expansion of over 140 highly-purified primitive human embryonic progenitor cells (hEPCs) from hES or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. According to BioTime, the cells have potential applications in basic biological and medical research, use in screening for novel pharmaceuticals, and potential use in cell-based therapies.

“Many researchers prefer to work with well-characterized progenitor cells rather than starting from scratch with embryonic stem cells,” said Michael D. West, Ph.D., CEO of BioTime. “The ACTCellerate™ product line allows scientists to save time and money, and to accomplish a wider range of research goals.”

BioTime characterized its new partner Genext as a “leader” in marketing and distribution of products and services in the field of stem cell technology, organ transplantation, and regenerative medicine in Asia. Genext has a distribution network that encompasses 400 hospitals and 2,500 stem cell researchers.

“Medical researchers in the People’s Republic of China are anxious to utilize the diverse and highly-purified human cell lineages created by BioTime for the discovery of novel transplantation protocols,” said David Wu, Shanghai Genext Medical Technology’s CEO. “We plan an aggressive marketing effort in 2011 to introduce these novel and impressive products.”

In addition to its ACTCellerate™ products, BioTime develops therapeutic products through subsidiaries that focus on diseases of specific organ systems for which there is a high unmet medical need. Cell Cure Neurosciences, Ltd., a majority owned subsidiary, is developing stem cell products that treat retinal and neural degenerative diseases. Cell Cure's minority shareholder, Teva Pharma (NSDQ: TEVA), holds an option to develop and commercialize Cell Cure’s OpRegen retinal cell product for use in treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

BioTime's OrthoCyte subsidiary is developing applications of stem cells for orthopedic diseases and injuries. OncoCyte Corporation focuses on the use of stem cell technology in cancer. And BioTime’s Singapore subsidiary, ES Cell International Pte Ltd, produces clinical-grade human embryonic stem cell lines that were derived following principles of Good Manufacturing Practice, offering them for use by other researchers.

In July 2009, BioTime signed a worldwide co-marketing agreement with Millipore Corporation for ACTCellerate progenitor cell lines.

Disclosure: none.

Source: BioTime Inks Progenitor Cell Distribution Deal for China