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Thread: U.S. Patent Office Grants StemCells, Inc. 3 Neural Stem Cell Patents, Including First Patent for Transplantation of Human Neural Stem Cells

  1. #1

    U.S. Patent Office Grants StemCells, Inc. 3 Neural Stem Cell Patents, Including First Patent for Transplantation of Human Neural Stem Cells

    U.S. Patent Office Grants StemCells, Inc. 3 Neural Stem Cell Patents, Including First Patent for Transplantation of Human Neural Stem Cells
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    08-Jan-03 / 05:40 AM
    Back to News Room PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- StemCells, Inc. (Nasdaq: STEM - News) announced today that the U.S. Patent office has granted U.S. Patent Number 6,497,872 with broad claims covering the transplantation of mammalian tissue-derived neural stem cells and their progeny into the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system including the spinal cord. The patent, of which StemCells is the exclusive licensee, also covers transplantation of cells derived from neural stem cells and genetically altered cells. In addition, U.S. Patent Number 6,498,018 for drug screening using human neural stem cell cultures and Number 6,468,794 covering methods for producing a cell population enriched for neural stem cells that can initiate neurospheres, have recently been issued to the Company.

    "The issuance of U.S. Patent 6,497,872 is an extremely important event for StemCells, Inc. It is the first patent to be issued anywhere in the world with claims covering transplantation uses of human neural stem cells," said Martin McGlynn, President and CEO of StemCells Inc. "The claims cover the transplantation of neural stem cells themselves as well as neurons or glial cells derived from the stem cells; thus, for example, transplantation of stem cells or neurons derived from neural stem cells for the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, stroke or spinal cord injury would be subject to the claims of this patent irrespective of the culture method used to grow the cells. Moreover, the claims cover both normal and genetically modified neural cells, so the patent also covers gene therapy applications using neural stem cells. We view the grant of patent number 6,498,018 as having the potential to broaden the Company's future product range to include drug screening as well as disease treatment, and patent number 6,468,794 as protecting the Company's position in respect to commercially feasible methods for producing therapeutic numbers of vigorous neural stem cells."

    The issuance of these patents adds to StemCells, Inc.'s portfolio of more than 30 issued patents in the neural stem cell field, enhancing the Company's position in the therapeutic, diagnostic, genomics and drug discovery uses of neural stem cells.

    StemCells, Inc is a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of stem cell-based therapies to treat diseases of the nervous system, liver, and pancreas. The Company's stem cell programs seek to repair or repopulate neural or other tissue that has been damaged or lost as a result of disease or injury. Further information about the Company is available on its web site, at www.stemcellsinc.com.
    Statements in this press release other than statements of historical facts constitute forward-looking statements regarding, among other things, the future business operations of StemCells, Inc. ("the Company"). The Company's actual results may vary materially from those contemplated in the forward looking statement due to risks and uncertainties to which the Company is subject, including the risk that Company will not be successful in using the patented technologies to develop effective treatments for human diseases; uncertainties regarding the Company's ability to obtain the capital resources needed to conduct the research, preclinical development and clinical trials necessary for regulatory approvals; the fact that the Company's stem cell technology is at the pre-clinical state and has not yet led to the development of any proposed product; the uncertainty whether any products that may be generated in the future in the Company's stem cell programs will prove clinically effective and not cause tumors or other side effects; the uncertainty whether the Company will achieve revenues from product sales or become profitable; and others that are described in Exhibit 99 to the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K entitled "Cautionary Factors Relevant to Forward Looking Statements."

    CONTACT: Martin McGlynn, President & CEO of StemCells, Inc., +1-650-475-3100, ext 108.

    http://www.bioexchange.com/news/news_page.cfm?id=15743

  2. #2
    StemCells is headed by Dr. Irving Weissman from Stanford. He is the doctor from Stanford who is heading up the stem cell program there. Other founders include Fred (Rusty) Gage from the Salk Institute in La Jolla and David Anderson from Caltech in Pasadena. With such broad-ranging patents, this company now has the responsibility to develop this therapy quickly and well, to get them into clinical trials, and establish the benefits of the technology in people.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mk99's Avatar
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    "The claims cover the transplantation of neural stem cells themselves as well as neurons or glial cells derived from the stem cells; thus, for example, transplantation of stem cells or neurons derived from neural stem cells for the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, stroke or spinal cord injury would be subject to the claims of this patent irrespective of the culture method used to grow the cells. Moreover, the claims cover both normal and genetically modified neural cells, so the patent also covers gene therapy applications using neural stem cells."

    Does this mean that the very act of transplanting just about any cell(s) material (including OEG) now has to go through Stemcells Inc? Are the neural stem cells in question here a special line of cells or would even autologous cells be covered by this patent? Would one company now be in a position to dictate ALL work to be done in this area?

  4. #4
    Mike, I think that we would have to read the patent to make sure but according to this press report (please remember that it comes from the company) I think that it is referring only to neural stem cells. OEG would not fall under this category since it is not a stem cell but a differentiated cell.

    My guess is that this patent may very well be challenged by other companies because it is so broad. Dr. Gage has a history of applying for very broad patents. For example, he is also the holder of a awarded patent that in part claims the invention of transplanting human neurons and almost any cell to the brain for therapeutic purposes but I don't think that most companies have felt threatened by that patent to the extent that they stopped developing transplantation therapies for the brain.

    Wise.

  5. #5
    Senior Member dogger's Avatar
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    responsibilty ?

    quote ''With such broad-ranging patents, this company now has the responsibility to develop this therapy quickly and well, to get them into clinical trials, and establish the benefits of the technology in people. '' unquote .
    Wise , i imagine this is only a moral reponsibilty or is it enforcible to any extent ?

    thank you
    dogger

    every day i wake up is a good one .

  6. #6
    Senior Member mk99's Avatar
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    Dr. Young thanks again for the quick & thorough response.

    last question: could the neural stem cells by definition come from your own body? ie: Could this patent cover a situation where your own cells are extracted, converted into neural cells (and maybe multiplied) before being transplanted back into your damaged cord area?

    Sounds a bit like when Harley Davidson tried to patent the "sound" of their engines... a bit too broad in my opinion.

  7. #7
    Mike, patents are enforced by the company and not by the government. Thus, action is taken only if a company feels that its patents have been infringed and therefore sues another company. It is very unlikely that a company will sue an individual. However, if another company puts out a product that is based on patented technology, StemCells may sue that company. In any case, I don't know whether the patent on transplantation of neural stem cells is really enforceable. It is probably based on the methods that Dr. Gage developed for isolation of neural stem cells from adult brain. Wise.

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