Shares of Alameda-based stem cell company BioTime closed 36 percent higher on high volume Tuesday, but the chief executive officer said if other companies were interested in acquiring it, he couldn't say.
Instead, Michael West, BioTime's CEO, said the rise was likely due to delayed reaction to a patent agreement signed last week with Alameda-based Advanced Cell Technology.
BioTime closed up 34 cents to $1.28, a 36 percent increase for the day and a 52-week closing high.
"I've been talking to a lot of shareholders and investors since the news asking me, 'Isn't this kind of a big deal'," West said. "And I tell them unabashedly, 'Of course it is.'"
BioTime has just nine full-time employees, no analyst coverage and is traded over-the-counter, but its leader, West, is consider a pioneer in the industry.
He says lately more people are taking notice of the company.
"If you look at the two major players in the stem cell space, they are Geron and ACT (Advanced Cell Technology), and I started them both," West said. "Maybe because of that people are starting to look at what I'm doing here."
Last Thursday the company announced the license of a portfolio of patents and patent applications from Advanced Cell Technology that will be used for the commercialization of products in human therapeutic and diagnostic product markets.
ACT is the former employer of West, where he served as chief scientific officer. It is located just down the street from BioTime's headquarters. West came to BioTime in Oct. 2007.
The ACT agreement is the second major announcement made by BioTime in two months.
On June 26 the company launched a complex database that serves as a vehicle to allow at least 5,000 experts worldwide an opportunity to share their expertise on how complex cell types are formed and differentiate from one another.
The day before the database announcement was made, shares of BioTime traded at 47 cents a share. Tuesday's close of $1.28 was up about 175 percent since August.
West is confident that the momentum is on the side of BioTime as well.
"Geron, 12 years after its IPO, still doesn't have a product and ACT is having financial problems where its stock is down to just a few pennies," he said. "BioTime has a product approved by the FDA that's doing well, and the opportunity from the (ACT) technology is a big deal."
BioTime's lead product is called Hextend, which is a synthetic blood plasma volume expander used in surgery for patients with blood loss.
One of BioTimes goals is to keep its stock price consistently traded over $1, which will allow it to be traded on a major trading market such as the Nasdaq. West said that "should be relatively easy to do."
Staff writer David Morrill covers biotechnology. He can be reached at 925-977-8534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.