Healthcare Industry News:  human embryonic stem cell 

Regenerative Medicine

 News Release - June 22, 2006

Geron Announces Collaboration to Develop Synthetic Surfaces for Growth of Embryonic Stem Cells

MENLO PARK, Calif.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--June 22, 2006--Geron Corporation (Nasdaq:GERN ) announced today that they have entered into a collaboration and license agreement with Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW ) for the development and commercialization of synthetic surface matrices for the growth of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs).

Geron and Corning Life Sciences will work together to develop synthetic growth surfaces to replace the biological surface coatings that are widely used today to grow hESCs. Under the agreement, Corning receives a license under Geron patents covering hESC growth as well as a sublicense under the foundational hESC patents held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. Products resulting from these collaborative efforts will be sold by Corning subject to certain commercial use restrictions. Geron will receive a royalty on such sales.

"Techniques for scalable and cost-effective hESC manufacturing are key to our product-based business model for hESC therapies for degenerative diseases," said Thomas B. Okarma Ph.D., M.D., Geron's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Geron scientists pioneered feeder-free growth of the cells. We continue to build on that work by developing new and improved approaches to hESC production. The availability of appropriate synthetic growth surfaces will benefit both Geron and the field of hESC research more broadly. Corning is a world-leader in cell culture surfaces, and we are excited to partner with the company in these efforts."

"Corning is equally excited to partner with a world-leader in stem cell biology such as Geron," said Jeff Mooney, Ph.D., Director of Commercial Technology for Corning Life Sciences. "We are committed to bringing our core expertise in materials, surfaces, biology, and process engineering to enhance current methods of cell growth and bring innovative products to the life sciences market."

A major advantage of hESCs over other types of stem cells is their ability to maintain pluripotency and proliferative capacity indefinitely in culture. This allows for the scalable expansion of the undifferentiated cells prior to differentiation into therapeutic cell populations. Conventionally, hESCs have been grown on a supporting layer of mouse or human feeder cells that supplied growth factors needed to maintain the pluripotency of the cells. Geron scientists have developed techniques for growing hESCs without feeder cells. This can increase the scalability and reproducibility of hESC manufacturing while eliminating the risk of contamination by infectious agents from the feeder cells. Synthetic growth surfaces on which hESCs will grow could replace the currently used biological surface coatings and lead to greater uniformity and cost savings.

About Corning Incorporated

Corning Incorporated ( is a diversified technology company that concentrates its efforts on high-impact growth opportunities. Corning combines its expertise in specialty glass, ceramic materials, polymers and the manipulation of the properties of light, with strong process and manufacturing capabilities to develop, engineer and commercialize significant innovative products for the telecommunications, flat panel display, environmental, semiconductor and life sciences industries.

About Geron

Geron is a Menlo Park, Calif.-based biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing three groups of products: i) therapeutic products for oncology that target telomerase; ii) pharmaceuticals that activate telomerase in tissues impacted by senescence, injury or degenerative disease; and iii) cell-based therapies derived from its human embryonic stem cell platform for applications in multiple chronic diseases. For more information, visit

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 such forward-looking statements in this press release regarding potential applications of Geron's human embryonic stem cell technology 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 maintenance 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 Geron's periodic reports, including the quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2006.

Source: Geron Corp

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