|09-26-2002, 09:52 AM||#1|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Geron Corporation Makes Embryonic Stem Cell Protocols Available
Geron Corporation Makes Embryonic Stem Cell Protocols Available
MENLO PARK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 26, 2002--Geron Corporation (Nasdaq:GERN) announced today that it has posted on its web site (www.geron.com) detailed protocols for scalable, feeder-free growth of undifferentiated human embryonic stem cells. Geron scientists developed the method for expanding populations of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) without the use of mouse feeder cells. The feeder-free method addresses concerns about contamination by mouse cells. In addition, feeder-free conditions enable the scalable production of large quantities of hESCs in standard bioreactors. Such scalable production cannot be accomplished by growing discrete colonies of hESCs attached to irradiated mouse feeder cells.
"We are publishing the protocols on our web site to enable and encourage other researchers to benefit from our work," said Thomas B. Okarma, Ph.D., M.D., Geron's president and chief executive officer. "The field of hESC research has tremendous promise, and we want it to progress rapidly. In addition to our own R&D, we want to facilitate hESC research broadly in the scientific community."
Geron has used the protocol successfully with multiple hESC lines derived by collaborators at the University of Wisconsin and the University of California, San Francisco. In addition, Geron has successfully transferred the know-how to numerous academic collaborators in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
"Growing hESCs can be challenging, particularly for those with little prior experience with these cells," said Jane Lebkowski, Ph.D., Geron's vice president of research and development, regenerative medicine. "A method to scalably culture these cells is a key to success in this field. We spent considerable effort developing a valid protocol that can be transferred to other laboratories. We found that subtle deviations in the hESC culture protocol can significantly affect how hESCs grow, proliferate and differentiate into functional cell types. Based on our experience with multiple hESC lines, we believe the posted protocol can be used to grow any hESC line."
"As with any cell product designed to be a therapeutic, the more we can control or eliminate exposure to non-human source materials, the better," added Dr. Lebkowski. "The feeder-free growth method is an important way to reduce murine cell contamination of hESCs. We are actively working with collaborators to derive new hESC lines using only qualified human reagents."
Human embryonic stem cells are unique stem cells because they are pluripotent. They can develop into all cells and tissues in the body. Geron is developing cell therapies, using cells differentiated from hESCs, for diseases such as Parkinson's Disease, spinal cord injury, heart failure, and diabetes.
Geron has filed patent applications on the feeder-free hESC compositions and methods for producing them in the United States and other countries, and already has an issued Australian patent covering feeder-free hESC compositions. Geron will grant licenses for research under the feeder-free patent without cost to academic and government scientists doing work in the field.
"We are pursuing a number of projects at Geron which reflects our prioritization for developing the technology," said David L. Greenwood, Geron's senior vice-president of corporate development and chief financial officer. "Our priorities, however, are not inclusive of all important opportunities for development of hESC-derived therapies. If an outside researcher achieves an important development milestone for a cell type in an indication Geron is pursuing, we would be inclined to partner and collaborate. If an outside researcher achieves an important development step with a cell type for an indication Geron is not pursuing, we are very willing to grant a commercial license."
Geron holds licenses from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation under U.S. Patent Nos. 5,843,780 and 6,200,806, including exclusive rights to develop and commercialize neural, cardiomyocyte and islet cells derived from hESCs for therapeutic applications. The patents, based on the work of Dr. James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin that was funded by Geron, cover hESCs and methods for deriving them. As such, these patents cover hESCs derived at Wisconsin and elsewhere. Further, Geron has built its own international portfolio of over 50 patent applications covering technologies it has developed to enable the scalable growth and differentiation of hESCs (including the patent applications on feeder-free growth), as well as various differentiated cell types that can be produced from hESCs.
Geron is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing therapeutic and diagnostic products for applications in oncology and regenerative medicine, and research tools for drug discovery. Geron's product development programs are based upon three patented core technologies: telomerase, human embryonic stem cells, and nuclear transfer.
This news release may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements in this press release regarding future applications of Geron Corporation's technology constitute statements involving risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and commercialization of potential products, dependence on collaborative partners, regulatory developments, and the maintenance of our intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements. Additional information on potential factors that could affect our results and other risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in Geron's periodic reports, including the quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2002.
Additional information about the company can be obtained at http://www.geron.com.
David L. Greenwood, 650/473-7700 (CFO)
SOURCE: Geron Corporation
|09-26-2002, 10:20 AM||#2|
Join Date: Jul 2002
Wow!!!! Excellent post Seneca. This is GREAT news. I hope that they are sincere when they state that they are willing to grant cells to other researchers in the academic community at no cost....me thinks that there must be a Don King like feature here (i.e. you use cells from our lines...we get a peice of the action)...which could/will chill research.