Embryome Sciences Licenses Virus-Free iPS and Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation Technology
News Aug 22, 2008
Embryome Sciences, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of BioTime, Inc., has announced the license of a portfolio of patents and patent applications from Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (ACT) relating to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) and embryonic stem cell differentiation technology. The license is for the commercialization of products in human therapeutic and diagnostic product markets.
The technology licensed by Embryome Sciences covers methods for the transformation of cells of the human body, such as skin cells, into an embryonic and pluripotent state. Because this iPS technology does not involve human embryos or egg cells, and classical cloning techniques are not employed, the use of iPS technology may eliminate ethical concerns that have been raised in connection with the procurement and use of human embryonic stem cells in scientific research and product development.
The portfolio of patents and patent applications licensed by Embryome Sciences covers methods to produce iPS cells that do not carry the viral vectors or added genes. Other iPS technology, currently being practiced by other researchers, utilizes viruses and genes that are likely incompatible with human therapeutic uses.
Embryome Sciences believes that technologies that facilitate the reprogramming of human cells to iPS cells without using these viruses could be advantageous in the development of human stem cell products for use in medicine and are, therefore, important advancements in the field.
Sublicensed from ACT for all human therapeutic and diagnostic applications are US patent application numbers 10/032,191, titled “Methods for cloning mammals using reprogrammed donor chromatin or donor cells,” and 10/910,156, “Methods for altering cell fate.” These patent applications relate to technology to alter the state of a cell, such as a human skin cell, by exposing the cell’s DNA to the cytoplasm of another reprogramming cell with differing properties.
In a second series of patent applications licensed nonexclusively from ACT for use in commercializing the previously-mentioned patents are technologies for the use of reprogramming cells that overexpress RNAs for the genes OCT4, SOX2, NANOG, cMYC, LIN28, and other factors known to be useful in iPS technology, methods of resetting cell lifespan by extending the length of telomeres, the use of the cytoplasm of undifferentiated cells to reprogram human cells, the use of hemizygous HLA O- stem cells for blood and other cell banking, methods of screening for differentiation agents, and stem cell-derived endothelial cells modified to disrupt tumor angiogenesis.
“These technologies, when combined with our existing intellectual property, give us a path to create patient-specific stem cells of any kind without the difficulties of current iPS approaches,” said Michael D. West, Ph.D., CEO of BioTime and Embryome Sciences.
“Our license of the iPS technology adds to our portfolio of in-licensed embryonic stem cell patent licenses that includes the core technology from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), and other technology sublicensed from Lifeline Cell Technology, LLC and Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. We plan to use the newly-acquired technologies in developing and marketing additional near-term stem cell products.”
The license package also includes US application #11/025,893, titled “Method of differentiation of morula or inner cell mass cells and method of making lineage-defective embryonic stem cells” that contains technology useful in producing embryonic progenitor cells without the utilization of embryonic stem cell lines.