Geron shares jump on GE stem cell pact

This morning the share price of Geron shot up 23 percent after the biotech company announced that it is teaming up with GE Healthcare to develop embryonic stem cell products that researchers can use in drug discovery work and tox screening. No terms were announced, but the new partners said that they would be using cell lines available through the National Institutes of Health's Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Registry.

A number of companies have been springing up recently to get into this promising new field. Researchers believe that stem cells have the potential to play a major role in testing new drugs. In their release, the companies note that toxicity often goes undetected until the preclinical or clinical phase of development, a blind spot that can cost developers immense amounts of time and money. These new stem cell products can shine a light on tox issues much earlier in the development process.

"Geron is intensely focused on developing hESC-based cell therapies, and the expertise that we have developed in scalable manufacturing and differentiation of hESCs to specific cell types is directly applicable to the production of these cells for drug discovery," said David J. Earp, J.D., Ph.D. Geron's SVP of business development. "In GE Healthcare we have found the ideal partner with whom to develop this near-term commercial opportunity. There is much anticipation of the availability of hESC-derived cells for drug discovery applications within the pharmaceutical industry and we look forward to working closely with GE Healthcare to deliver these promising products."

- check out the press release
- read the report from Reuters