San Diego, CA, May 29, 2014 – ViaCyte, Inc., a regenerative medicine company focused on developing a cell replacement therapy for the treatment of patients with insulin-dependent diabetes, announced today that the Company has settled a patent dispute involving certain of the Company’s definitive endoderm patents and patent applications. The dispute involved an appeal to the U.S. District Court by Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc., (as assignee of Geron Corporation), which sought to overturn both decisions by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) against Geron in its patent interferences.
The underlying interference proceedings centered on the Company’s definitive endoderm patent, U.S. Patent No. 7,510,876. The first interference proceeding was initiated by Geron Corporation (original owner of the Asterias stem cell patents at issue) in late 2009, and a subsequent interference proceeding was declared by the USPTO in late 2011 in view of a Geron application and the same ViaCyte patent. In mid-2012, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences of the USPTO ruled in favor of ViaCyte in both interferences; and Geron subsequently appealed to the U.S. District Court of Northern California in September 2012.
Under the terms of the settlement and license agreement, the parties will each receive a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, fully paid-up, license to use certain patents for any internal research and development purpose but only to the extent necessary to allow the licensee to make, use, sell, offer for sale, or import endodermal lineage cells for use with its products and/or product candidates.
“This settlement resolves the parties’ various patent disputes worldwide with respect to human definitive endoderm cells from human pluripotent stem cells. With this settlement we can put more focus on the development of our VC-01 product candidate unfettered by this patent dispute,” said Paul Laikind, ViaCyte’s president and chief executive officer.
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ViaCyte, a private company in the field of regenerative medicine, is currently focused on developing a novel cell therapy for the treatment of diabetes. The Company’s lead product candidate, VC-01, is based on the production of pancreatic progenitors derived from human pluripotent stem cells. These cells are implanted in a durable and retrievable encapsulation device called the Encaptra® drug delivery system. Once implanted and matured, these cells are designed to secrete insulin and other regulatory factors in response to blood glucose levels.
ViaCyte is headquartered in San Diego, California with additional operations in Athens, Georgia. The Company is funded in part by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and JDRF.