Ocata Therapeutics Inc., (formerly Advanced Cell Technology), a regenerative cell therapy company focused on ophthalmic disorders, has announced the execution of a licensing deal for stem cell intellectual property from Allele Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals Inc., San Diego. Ocata Therapeutics Inc. is understood to have received non-exclusive rights to generate GMP human induced pluripotent stem cell lines using Allele’s technologies and to retain exclusive rights to differentiated cells developed as part of the licensing agreement. Ocata is currently under-taking a Phase I/II open-label, multi-centre, prospective study to determine the safety and tolerability of sub-retinal transplantation of human embryonic stem cell derived retinal pigmented epithelial (MA09-hRPE) cells in patients with Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy (SMD).
The Massachusetts-based company is one of the key commercial entities at the coalface of developing stem cell technologies for the treatment of human diseases. The company’s primary focus on ophthalmic conditions includes Stargardt’s, dry AMD, myopic macular degeneration, retinits pigmentosa, glaucoma and corneal blindness. The application of stem cell treatments to human disorders is a highly active field with both commercial and research scientist / clinician led trials seeking to demonstrate robust proof-of-concept. Ocata is currently conducting active human clinical trials in Stargardt’s, myopic macular degeneration and dry AMD.
Commenting on the lcensing transaction Dr. Paul Wotton Ph.D., President and CEO of Ocata stated that, “This agreement with Allele is part of our strategy to broaden our technology platform and increase our leadership in regenerative ophthalmology. Ocata can now take advantage of induced and embryonic pluripotent stem cells to produce commercially viable human tissue for transplantation. We recently confirmed proof of concept in creating photoreceptors capable of preventing blindness and restoring vision in established animal models. Data from these studies will be published later this year.” In addition, Dr. Robert Lanza, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Ocata commented that, “we have had a strong leadership role in this area. Ocata has extensive experience and patent rights in generating both ocular and non-ocular cell types from human iPSCs. We have painstakingly and patiently evaluated many different iPSC technologies and selected the Allele technology only after we were satisfied and confident that this represented the best of all approaches and could permit us to generate transplantable tissues that would be potentially safe in human patients. In our hands, the iPSCs we are generating are comparable to our embryonic stem cells in those features required for use in potential human therapies.”