NEWARK, Calif., March 20, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- StemCells, Inc. (Nasdaq:STEM) today announced that it has acquired from NsGene A/S, a privately held Danish biotechnology company, a patent family claiming GFAP+ Nestin+ cells, including U.S. Patent Nos. 6,878,543 and 7,303,912 and European patent application 00973148. GFAP and Nestin are proteins that are co-expressed by certain key cells found in the human central nervous system. Each patent claims a cell culture of undifferentiated GFAP+ Nestin+ cells wherein one or more cells have the capacity to differentiate into neurons and glia as do many neural stem and progenitor cells described by researchers. The invention claimed by the patents resulted from research conducted at NsGene while in pursuit of cell-based treatments for Parkinson's disease. The terms of the patents extend into 2020 and 2021.
"We are pleased to expand our neural cell patent portfolio with the acquisition of this intellectual property," said Martin McGlynn, President and Chief Executive Officer of StemCells, Inc. "As worldwide interest in human cells increases, we continue to look for opportunities to broaden the reach of our intellectual property portfolio, which already contains many of the seminal patents in the field of human neural stem cell research."
The Company's patent portfolio consists of approximately 45 issued U.S. patents, 250 issued foreign patents and active patent prosecution in over 15 distinct patent families claiming different types of stem and progenitor cells, cell culture media, stem cell research tools and techniques, and similar technologies. The Company's neural stem and progenitor cell patents broadly cover (i) compositions of matter, (ii) methods of manufacture (isolation, proliferation, purification, genetic modification, etc.), and (iii) methods of use, including the use of these cells both as therapeutics and as tools for drug screening and testing, and cover human neural stem cells irrespective of whether they were derived from embryonic, juvenile or adult tissue, or derived using presently known induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) technologies.
About StemCells, Inc.
StemCells, Inc. is engaged in the research, development, and commercialization of cell-based therapeutics and tools for use in stem cell-based research and drug discovery. The Company's lead therapeutic product candidate, HuCNS-SC® cells (purified human neural stem cells), is currently in development as a potential treatment for a broad range of central nervous system disorders. In a Phase I clinical trial in Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), a fatal myelination disorder in children, the Company has shown preliminary evidence of progressive and durable donor-derived myelination in all four patients transplanted with HuCNS-SC cells. The Company is also conducting a Phase I/II clinical trial in chronic spinal cord injury in Switzerland and has reported positive interim data for the first patient cohort. The Company has also initiated a Phase I/II clinical trial in dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and is pursuing preclinical studies in Alzheimer's disease. StemCells also markets stem cell research products, including media and reagents, under the SC Proven® brand. Further information about StemCells is available at http://www.stemcellsinc.com.
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Apart from statements of historical fact, the text of this press release constitutes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and is subject to the safe harbors created therein. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the prospect of enforcing the Company's intellectual property against infringers, the potential breadth and length of patent protection in the United States or in any other geography; and the likelihood that any of the Company's intellectual property will be found to be valid and enforceable. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this news release. The Company does not undertake to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that occur after the date hereof. Such statements reflect management's current views and are based on certain assumptions that may or may not ultimately prove valid. The Company's actual results may vary materially from those contemplated in such forward-looking statements due to risks and uncertainties to which the Company is subject, including the factors that are described under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011, and in its subsequent reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K.
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