Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. has announced that it has been issued a patent in Australia, patent number 2005325753, "Improved modalities for the treatment of degenerative diseases of the retina."
The patent broadly covers the use of human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells generated from pluripotent stem cells in the manufacture of pharmaceutical preparations of RPE cells, and the use of those preparations to treat patients with degenerative diseases of the retina such as Age-related Macular Degeneration.
The patent covers the pharmaceutical formulation of human RPE cells made from a range of pluripotent stem cells, including both human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
"We continue to make great progress with our patent estate covering RPE therapies," said Gary Rabin, chairman and CEO of ACT. "Our ongoing success in securing broad patent protection around the world, including this newly-issued Australian patent, is a testament to our innovative chief scientific officer, Dr. Robert Lanza, and the rest of our scientific team."
The efficient production of highly pure RPE cell preparations represents a critical step in the creation of renewable sources of transplantable cells that can be used to target degenerative diseases of the eye such as Stargardt's Macular Dystrophy (SMD) and dry Age-related Macular Degeneration (dry AMD).
"Our current embryonic stem cell trials pave the way for other pluripotent stem cell therapies," commented Dr. Lanza. "ACT's cellular reprogramming technologies using iPS cells are in an advanced stage of development, and we hope to be in a position to move toward clinical translation in the not-too-distant future. Since iPS cells can be made from the patient's own cells such as skin or blood cells they may allow us to expand our cell therapies beyond immune-privileged sites such as the eye without the risk of immune rejection."
Mr. Rabin concluded, "We are aggressively pursuing patent protection for a variety of aspects of our programs. Our intellectual property strategy includes both vigilance in pursuing comprehensive coverage from our initial patent filings, such as this new Australian patent, and filing for protection around our scientific team's various innovations. At the same time we are paying close attention to including within our patent coverage those ways others may wish to adapt our technology for commercial use, such as through the choice of stem cell source, or the use of solid supports or cell suspensions for delivery. Following this strategy, we are establishing both formidable barriers-to-entry for potential competitors, as well as strong potential licensing opportunities for others, translating into solid revenue generation possibilities for the company."