GERN ended its joint venture with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) for undisclosed reasons.
In 2005, GERN and HKUST created the joint venture, TA Therapeutics Ltd (NYSEMKT:TAT), to develop controlled activation of telomerase, an enzyme that helps prevent the fraying of chromosomes that underlies aging and cancer. At the time ownership of the joint venture was split 50-50 between Geron and HKUST. Geron’s stake increased to 75% after a restructuring in 2007.
The joint venture conducted research and commercially develop products that utilize telomerase activator drugs to restore the regenerative and functional capacity of cells in various organ systems that have been impacted by senescence, injury or chronic disease. The compounds could become treatments for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and HIV.
Under the new agreement, the telomerase activator program will continue as an internal Geron program and all intellectual property of TA Therapeutics has been assigned to GERN but HKUST will be entitled to royalties on sales of drugs that come from the collaboration.
Shares of GERN dipped $0.09 to $4.82 (7/15/10) and another $0.25 to $4.57 on Friday (7/16/10).