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ESI BIO - A Division of BioTime, Inc. Launches New Research Technology Platform, VascuNet™ Pericyte Co-Culture Assay
September 02, 2015
  • Provides Researchers with In Vitro Assays with Greater Physiological Relevance
    and Accuracy

ALAMEDA, Calif., September 2, 2015 – ESI BIO (, the stem cell products division of BioTime, Inc., announced today the release of its most recent technology platform designed to give researchers new standardized in vitro assays with greater physiological relevance and accuracy. The VascuNet™ Pericyte Co-Culture Assay provides a stable, clinically relevant angiogenesis model not currently obtainable with other vascular network systems.

This breakthrough technology in angiogenesis assays was developed in collaboration with ReCyte Therapeutics, Inc., another BioTime subsidiary, toward the goal of providing clinically relevant research platforms to the greater pharmaceutical drug screening and research community.

Market Opportunity

  • Pharmaceutical companies
    • Drug screening for pro-angiogenic compounds to treat ischemia
    • Drug screening for anti-angiogenic compounds to treat cancer

VascuNet™ Pericyte Co-Culture Assay

  • The first commercially available assay that includes PC-M pericytes that provide a stable, physiologically accurate in vivo model of blood vessel formation (angiogenesis)
  • VascuNet™ cellular network system closely mimics in vivo vascular networks
  • Allows for long-term in vitro assessment of pro- and anti-angiogenic compounds on established vessels for angiogenesis research and cancer drug screening

ESI BIO’s VascuNet™ Pericyte Co-Culture Assay is a novel angiogenesis model that, with the inclusion of both endothelial cells and pericytes, provides a more clinically relevant research platform. Cellular networks in this co-culture system can easily be maintained for extended periods of time in vitro, allowing for a more complete and accurate model to study the effects of drugs and therapeutic compounds on vascular network formation.

Angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels) is a central process in development, reproduction, and wound healing. The normal state of angiogenesis is dysregulated in many serious diseases, where the formation of new blood vessels is either promoted excessively or inhibited by a variety of potential factors.

Proper angiogenesis requires tightly regulated interactions between endothelial cells and pericytes, branched cells embedded within the basement membrane of capillaries that reinforce vascular structure and aide in regulating blood flow. In fact, it’s believed that in many cases, the malfunction of pericytes is central to disease progression, including tumorigenesis, neurodegenerative disorders, and diabetic retinopathy.

The standardized PC-M cells included in the VascuNet™ kit are pericytes that were derived from a proprietary differentiation method using ESI BIO’s ESI-017 Human Embryonic Stem Cell Line. These cells have been shown to closely resemble the phenotype and functionality of human pericytes in vivo.

The proper interaction and balance between the endothelial cells and pericytes in an in vitro system is crucial to developing a sound research model of disease and to our understanding of vascular disorders. The defined protocol for the VascuNet™ Pericyte Co-Culture Assay allows for standardized testing of factors indicated in modulating or inhibiting angiogenesis on highly characterized cells with precise timing of environmental factors.

ESI BIO - A division of BioTime, Inc., is a unique research reagent organization which markets and distributes stem cell related research products provided by BioTime and its subsidiary companies. Many of these products can be provided as a research grade or clinical grade, including ES Cell International’s human embryonic stem cell lines and HyStem® hyaluronan-based hydrogels produced under conditions designed to be compliant with principles of current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), making them suitable for use in clinical research and regenerative medicine. ESI BIO's portfolio includes PureStem® human embryonic progenitors, antibodies, and small molecules for stem cell differentiation and reprogramming. ESI BIO's mission is to develop innovative research products that help translate scientific discoveries to the clinic. ESI BIO facilities are located in La Jolla and Alameda, California.
For more information, please visit

About BioTime
BioTime, Inc., a pioneer in regenerative medicine, is a clinical-stage biotechnology company. BioTime and its subsidiaries are leveraging their industry-leading experience in pluripotent stem cell technology and a broad intellectual property portfolio to facilitate the development and use of cell-based therapies and gene marker-based molecular diagnostics for major diseases and degenerative conditions for which there presently are no cures. The lead clinical programs of BioTime and its subsidiaries include OpRegen®, currently in a Phase I/IIa trial for the treatment of the dry form of age-related macular degeneration; AST-OPC1, currently in a Phase I/IIa trial for spinal cord injuries; Renevia™, currently in a pivotal trial in Europe as an injectable matrix for the engraftment of transplanted cells to treat HIV-related lipoatrophy; and liquid biopsy cancer diagnostics, nearing the completion of initial clinical studies for the detection of lung, bladder, and breast cancers. AST-VAC2, a cancer vaccine, is in the pre-clinical trial stage.

BioTime’s subsidiaries include the publicly traded Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc., developing pluripotent stem cell-based therapies in neurology and oncology, including AST-OPC1 and AST-VAC2; Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd., developing stem cell-based therapies for retinal and neurological disorders, including OpRegen®; OncoCyte Corporation, developing cancer diagnostics; LifeMap Sciences, Inc., developing and marketing an integrated online database resource for biomedical and stem cell research; LifeMap Solutions, Inc., a subsidiary of LifeMap Sciences, developing mobile health (mHealth) products; ES Cell International Pte Ltd, which has developed cGMP-compliant human embryonic stem cell lines that are being marketed by BioTime for research purposes under the ESI BIO branding program; OrthoCyte Corporation, developing therapies to treat orthopedic disorders, diseases, and injuries; and ReCyte Therapeutics, Inc., developing therapies to treat a variety of cardiovascular and related ischemic disorders.

For more information, please visit or connect with the company on TwitterLinkedInFacebookYouTube, and Google+.


ESI BIO - A Division of BioTime, Inc.
Jeffrey Janus
510-521-3390 x376

Media Contact:

Gotham Communications, LLC
Bill Douglass, 646-504-0890