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Updating GERN, Collaboration with Corning Launches for Growing hESCs

Geron’s (NASDAQ:GERN) collaboration with Corning launches Synthemax™ surface, a novel synthetic surface supporting the growth and differentiation of stem cells and growing hESCs.

  • Industrial production of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) can be problematic because the surface coating on which they are usually grown are expensive; subject to variability thus needing to be tested to ensure they are pathogen-free,
  • Synthemax is designed to provide a synthetic contaminant growth matrix that supports the stable proliferation of undifferentiated hESCs in quantities suitable for cell therapy production,
  • The advantage of this technology is that it can support cell differentiation after multiple passages.


Under the terms of the 4 year collaboration, Corning will be responsible for commercialising laboratory products that use the Synthemax matrix, the first of which, a 6-well culture plate, is already available to scientists in the US.

  • GERN retains rights to use the technology for the manufacture of certain products but, will receive royalty payments on all Synthemax sales.

Data from 9/09 demonstrated multi-passage growth of multiple undifferentiated human stem cell lines and the subsequent differentiation of one of these cell lines into cardiomyocytes. This is the first time the differentiation has been demonstrated with the results presented on a synthetic surface. The growth and differentiation of stem cells on the Synthemax surface is robust and reproducible, an important condition for the large-scale production of cells and therapeutic development.

The Synthemax surface allows for the scalable expansion of stem cells for more than 20 serial passages in a defined xeno-free medium with:

  • Stable doubling time,
  • Phenotypic marker expression,
  • Retention of normal karyotype,
  • Maintenance of pluripotency.

GERN closed up $0.18 (3.09%) at $6.01 on 3/4/10 with a market cap of $550.68 M