|11-02-2010, 08:22 AM||#1|
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: U.S. and Canada
Geron awarded grants under qualifying therapeutic discovery project program
MENLO PARK, Calif., November 2, 2010 Geron Corporation (Nasdaq: GERN) today announced that the company has been awarded $1.2 million in grants under the Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project (QTDP) program. The maximum grant amount was awarded to each of the five Geron programs that were eligible for QTDP funding and included oncology and human embryonic stem cell projects. The funds will be used to continue therapeutic development of each of the projects.
Included as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the QTDP program provided a tax credit to encourage investments in new therapies to prevent, diagnose, and treat acute and chronic diseases. Companies, such as Geron, that cannot currently use a tax credit were allowed to apply for a cash grant in lieu of a tax credit.
To be eligible for the program, projects must show reasonable potential to result in new therapies to treat areas of unmet medical need; prevent, detect, or treat chronic or acute disease and conditions; reduce long-term health care costs in the United States; or significantly advance the goal of curing cancer within a 30-year period. In addition, preference was given to projects that showed the greatest potential to create and sustain (directly or indirectly) high quality, high-paying jobs in the United States, and advance United States competitiveness in the fields of life, biological, and medical sciences. Projects were selected jointly by the Treasury Department and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Geron Projects Receiving Grants
Imetelstat, the worlds first telomerase inhibitor for the treatment of cancer, has shown activity in bulk tumor cells and cancer stem cells, which are the small sub-population of cells in a tumor believed to be responsible for cancer recurrence due to their resistance to standard treatments. Imetelstat is currently being tested in a randomized Phase 2 clinical trial in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Additional Phase 2 trials in breast cancer, multiple myeloma and essential thrombocythemia are planned.
Cancer Vaccine (GRNVAC1)
GRNVAC1 is a personalized therapeutic vaccine that instructs a patients immune system to kill tumor cells expressing telomerase. GRNVAC1 is currently being tested in a Phase 2 clinical trial in patients with acute myelogenous leukemia.
Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells (GRNOPC1)
GRNOPC1 are human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cells for the treatment of spinal cord injury and other neurodegenerative disorders. GRNOPC1 is currently in a Phase 1 clinical trial to test safety and tolerability in patients with complete (ASIA grade A), acute thoracic spinal cord injuries.
GRNCM1 are hESC-derived heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) for the treatment of heart disease. GRNCM1 have demonstrated normal contractile function and appropriate response to cardiac drugs*in vitro. Studies are underway in a large animal model (swine) of myocardial infarction to further assess preclinical safety and efficacy of GRNCM1 in an animal model with a cardiovascular system of similar size and structure to humans.
GRNIC1 are hESC-derived pancreatic islet cells for the treatment of diabetes. GRNIC1 have been shown to process and secrete insulin in response to glucose challenge*in vitro*and*in vivo. Studies are underway in diabetic animal models to assess prevention of hyperglycemia with transplanted GRNIC1.
Geron is developing first-in-class biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer and chronic degenerative diseases, including spinal cord injury, heart failure and diabetes. The company is advancing an anti-cancer drug and a cancer vaccine that target the enzyme telomerase through multiple clinical trials in different cancers. For more information, visit www.geron.com.
This news release may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned that statements in this press release regarding potential applications of Gerons telomerase and human embryonic stem cell technologies constitute forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and commercialization of potential products, uncertainty of clinical trial results or regulatory approvals or clearances, need for future capital, dependence upon collaborators and protection of our intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements. Additional information on potential factors that could affect our results and other risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in Gerons periodic reports, including the quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2010.
Anna Krassowska, Ph.D.
Investor and Media Relations
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