NEWARK, Calif., July 31, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- StemCells, Inc. (Nasdaq:STEM) today announced that the Japan Patent Office has granted to the Company Patent Number 5007003, titled "Enriched Central Nervous System Stem Cell and Progenitor Cell Populations, and Methods for Identifying, Isolating and Enriching for Such Populations." The patent broadly covers the prospective isolation and enrichment of neural stem and progenitor cells using antibody selection, as well as the use of these cells to treat disorders of the central nervous system. Some of the more noteworthy claims in the '003 patent include methods for isolating human neural stem cells, as well as compositions of matter comprising enriched neural stem cells, such as the Company's proprietary HuCNS-SC cells, and the use of enriched neural stem cells as a medicament for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, acute brain injury and dysfunction of the central nervous system. The invention claimed by the '003 patent was the result of groundbreaking research conducted by the Company's stem cell researchers, including Nobuko Uchida, Ph.D., Vice President of Stem Cell Biology at StemCells, Inc., who is a named inventor on the patent. The patent term of the '003 patent extends into 2020.
"The issuance of the '003 patent in Japan further strengthens our intellectual property position around our neural stem cell technology," said Martin McGlynn, President and CEO of StemCells, Inc. "Our HuCNS-SC clinical development program continues to move forward, targeting such conditions as Alzheimer's disease, spinal cord injury, myelin disorders, and diseases of the eye. This patent is another testament to the excellent and innovative science conducted by our researchers, who are leaders in the field of stem cell biology and, like the rest of our IP portfolio, will help to protect the significant investment we have made in developing our unique neural stem cell technology."
The Company's patent portfolio consists of approximately 40 issued U.S. patents, 250 issued foreign patents and active patent prosecution in over 14 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 issued neural stem cell patents broadly 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. The Company's neural stem and progenitor cell patents 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.
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 recently reported positive interim safety 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.
The StemCells, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=7014
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 Japan or in any other geography; the likelihood that any of the Company's intellectual property will be found to be valid and enforceable; and whether the Company will be able to manufacture HuCNS-SC cells consistently and as needed to conduct the Company's on-going clinical studies. 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 Company's ability to obtain the increased capital resources needed to continue its current operations and to conduct the research, preclinical development and clinical trials necessary for regulatory approvals and for continued patent prosecution efforts; uncertainty regarding the validity and enforceability of the Company's existing patents; the fact that additional trials will be required to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the Company's HuCNS-SC cells for the treatment of any disease or disorder; uncertainty as to whether the FDA or other applicable regulatory agencies will permit the Company to continue clinical testing in spinal cord injury, age related macular degeneration or in future clinical trials of proposed therapies for other diseases or conditions; uncertainties regarding the Company's ability to commercialize a therapeutic product and its ability to successfully compete with other products on the market; and other 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.
CONTACT: Rodney Young
Chief Financial Officer