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BioTime Tries to Woo Geron Shareholders

BioTime of Alameda has made a bid for stem cell research assets owned by Geron Corporation.

Alameda’s BioTime has issued an open letter to shareholders of Geron Corporation, encouraging them to support a $53 million deal that would see a BioTime subsidiary acquire stem cell research and development assets from Geron.

“BioTime and BAC [BioTime Acquisition Corporation] cannot complete the Stem Cell Transaction as proposed without the approval of Geron’s Board of Directors. If you want the Geron Board of Directors to pursue our proposal, we suggest that you contact the Geron Board and urge them to work with BioTime and BAC management to negotiate a definitive agreement for the Stem Cell Transaction,” reads the letter released yesterday.

The letter explains that, “Geron shareholders could own up to 45% of a new publicly traded company that will own the Geron stem cell assets, $40 million of BioTime stock, certain BioTime stem cell assets, and shares of certain BioTime stem cell subsidiaries. Geron shareholders would also receive BioTime stock-purchase warrants presently valued at approximately $13 million.”

A follow-on rights offer would aim to raise roughly $39 million for the new company and would provide a way for Geron and other shareholders to increase their ownership in BioTime Acquisition Company.

In November of last year, Geron Corporation of Menlo Park announced that it was discontinuing its stem cell research development programs and its clinical trials of OPC-1, a product manufactured from human embryonic stem cells for the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

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