03 May WARF expands license agreement with Advanced Cell Technology
Madison, Wis. – Advanced Cell Technology, the California biotechnology company that announced last year it had discovered a way to extract stem cells from human embryos without destroying the embryos, has reached an expanded commercialization agreement with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.
The agreement grants the company the right to the commercial use of human embryonic stem cells to develop various human therapies.
Advanced Cell Technology, based in Alameda, Calif., applies embryonic stem cell technology to regenerative medicine.
Michael West, president and chief scientific officer for Advanced Cell Technology, said the expanded license will accelerate the process of bringing therapeutic programs toward human clinical trials and, ultimately, to commercial adoption.
In addition to its existing therapy targets, Advanced Cell Technology will pursue clinical applications for disorders of the endocrine, craniofacial, muscle, bone, cartilage, liver, kidney, and respiratory systems.
Last year, the company announced a licensing agreement with the Madison-based WiCell Research Institute, which houses the nation’s only stem cell bank. The agreement calls for the organizations to jointly distribute to U.S. scientists a range of new cell lines produced using the controversial new technique that purportedly can extract stem cells from early-stage embryos without destroying them.
The agreement is subject to federal recognition and funding of new stem cell lines, but it calls for the two entities to make the new stem cell lines readily available for medical research.
The new stem cell extraction technique received widespread press coverage when it was first announced in the peer-reviewed journal Nature. Since then, however, Advanced Cell Technology has acknowledged that embryos were destroyed in the process, but maintained the viability of extracting stem cells without embryonic destruction.
The company’s history with WARF dates back to its collaboration with University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Jamie Thompson, who developed a method for isolating and defining human embryonic stem cells.
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• A brief timeline of the stem cell debate
• Researchers report development of embryonic stem cells without destroying embryo