San Diego, CA (March 31, 2009) – Novocell, Inc., a stem cell engineering company, today announced that it has received U.S. Patent 7,510,876 with claims covering human definitive endoderm cells, an essential cell for generating not only pancreatic type cells, which Novocell is developing for use as a cell therapy for diabetes, but also other endoderm lineage-derived tissues and organs such as lungs, intestine, liver, thymus and thyroid.
“This composition patent is a milestone achievement for Novocell and is the culmination of extensive research that opened the door to the endoderm lineage,” said Fred Middleton, Chairman & Acting CEO of Novocell. “The efficient production of endoderm represents the first critical step in the creation of a renewable islet source derived from hES cells that is targeted at restoring normal glucose regulation in diabetic patients.”
“Novocell is a leader in differentiation of stem cells to create functional islet cells of the pancreas, and this broad patent significantly enhances our proprietary position and further secures our investment in the development of a diabetes cell therapy and potentially other endoderm-derived cell products,” said Edward Baetge, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Novocell.
Novocell was the first to demonstrate that implantation of hES-derived pancreatic cells into mice results in the generation of glucose-responsive insulin producing cells. Such cells exhibit properties characteristic of functional human adult pancreatic insulin producing cells and provide protection in an animal model of diabetes characterized by loss of pancreatic insulin producing cells. See our landmark publications in Nature Biotechnology: D’Amour et al. (2005), D’Amour et al. (2006) and Kroon et al. (2008).
Novocell, Inc. is a stem cell engineering company with research and development operations in San Diego, California and Athens, Georgia, dedicated to creating, delivering and commercializing cell and drug therapies for diabetes. Novocell has three primary technologies: stem cell engineering, cell encapsulation and drug discovery. The Company was founded in 1999 and merged with CyThera, Inc. and BresaGen, Inc. in 2004. For more information, please visit www.novocell.com