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SA biotech companies make deal for stem cell product manufacturing
January 30, 2017

GenCure, a subsidiary of BioBridge Global, has entered into a new deal with another San Antonio-based biotech company - StemBioSys Inc. COURTESY OF BIOBRIDGE GLOBAL

By W. Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business Journal

Two companies with familiar ties look to expedite the path to market for stem cell-based technologies.

Two San Antonio biotech companies are doubling down on their tag-team approach to moving more stem cell-based technologies to market.

The companies - GenCure, which is a subsidiary of BioBridge Global, and StemBioSys Inc. - have forged a product development and manufacturing agreement that could give the Alamo City a big boost in its bid to become a more prominent global player in stem cell research and regenerative medicine.

Under the agreement, GenCure will be the exclusive manufacturer of stem cell-based products developed by StemBioSys. It will also own that exclusivity for similar products that the two companies develop jointly.

"We have been working closely with BioBridge Global and GenCure on a number of things over the last couple of years," StemBioSys CEO Bob Hutchens said. "This agreement became the next logical step for us to extend our relationship. The agreement allows us to work together seamlessly from the time a new product is conceived all the way to commercial production."

There is strong familiarity between the two companies. Becky Cap, chief operating officer for GenCure, said Hutchens' first board meeting with StemBioSys after taking over as its CEO was held at the BioBridge Global campus where GenCure is based.

In October, the Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium, a nonprofit corporation created by the U.S. Army's Medical Research and Material Command, awarded a $7.8 million contract to a group of four biotech organizations headed by BioBridge Global to enable the development of large-scale manufacturing capabilities for clinical-grade stem cells. StemBioSys is also part of that group.

"As our relationship has evolved, StemBioSys has used a number of source materials from the donations we receive from the cord blood bank to conduct research and identify new lines of cells they can use in production," Cap said.

"So now, we are opening a contract development and manufacturing organization, a new line of business for GenCure. And they are our first development partner."

Cap said the deal with StemBioSys will serve as the soft launch for the new business.

StemBioSys will still do some of its own manufacturing, but any outside assistance will be provided by GenCure.

Hutchens said the new agreement is a game changer for StemBioSys.

"It gives us tremendous access to the technical talent and outstanding facilities of BioBridge and GenCure," he said. "This will let us bring critical new products much faster than we could on our own."

GenCure also stands to gain from its expanded operational model and from its stronger connection with StemBioSys.

"It helps establish GenCure's position in the regenerative medicine space," Cap said.

"This increases our scientific footprint and creates a new revenue stream for us with a company [StemBioSys] that already has distribution partners in place," she said. "So we can leverage the distribution partners they bring to the table, and they get to leverage our infrastructure. Then we combine our scientific insight and expertise."

 

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