Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness worldwide. This, especially in the aging population: you reach a certain age, and you can’t see as well as before. Up until this point, there has been no cure for macular degeneration. In the late stages of the illness, people are declared legally blind.
Francois Binette, head of product development, explains. “The cells that are keeping the photoreceptors healthy and happy are called the ‘retinal pigmented epithelial’ (RPE) cells.” With aging or disease, these cells can degenerate. Without RPE cells, the eye can’t maintain its photoreceptors, and a person’s vision blurs and fades. “We have a very robust process of making these [RPE] cells,” explains Binette.
Listen now to find out how BioTimeInc. creates and employs RPE cells to cure blindness in aging adults.
Dr. François Binette is Head of Global Development for Biotime Inc. Dr. Binette has over 20 years of experience driving innovation in regenerative medicine therapy development. During his first industry appointment at Genzyme Tissue Repair in Cambridge, he helped pioneer Carticel™ for cartilage repair, the first FDA BLA-approved cell therapy product for human use. He then led R&D for Biosyntech, a startup biomaterials company in Montreal applying its proprietary platform for various tissue engineering and drug delivery applications. His systematic approach to demonstrating proof of principle in various indications brought numerous corporate partnership deals helping Biosyntech through a public offering. Dr. Binette then joined the DePuy Franchise of Johnson and Johnson, the second largest orthopedic business worldwide. Dr. Binette led several innovative regenerative medicine combination product development initiatives from bench top to approved clinical trials in US and Europe. Following JNJ, Dr. Binette joined the Spinal and Biologics business unit of Medtronic, the world’s largest medical device company, developing biologics, active devices and combination products for interventional spine procedures for back pain. Dr Binette received his Ph.D. from Laval University in Québec City, followed with post-doctoral training at the Sanford-Burnham institute in La Jolla, and Harvard Medical School in Boston.