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License for Deriving Cartilage from hESCs, Geron (GERN)

GERN announced that it has entered into a worldwide, exclusive license agreement with the University of Edinburgh, UK covering technology that allows the efficient production of chondrocytes (cartilage forming cells) from human pluripotent stem cells. 

The license gives Geron exclusive rights to the technology for therapeutic applications, and will enhance GERN’s program to develop cell replacement therapies for orthopedic indications such as osteoarthritis, a disease affecting 27 M people in the US.

  • The technology was developed in the laboratory of Professor Brendon Noble, as part of research collaboration between Geron and the University. The research was also supported by the UK Stem Cell Foundation, with funding from Scottish Enterprise and the Medical Research Council.

The studies in Dr. Noble’s laboratory showed that injection of hESC-derived chondrocytes into the damaged knee joint cartilage of immuno-competent rats produced well-integrated cartilage with full repair of the lesion for at least nine months. Large animal models are now being used to test the cells in human scale lesions to further assess cartilage integration, mechanical function, and durability.