San Diego, California, January 31, 2013 — ViaCyte, Inc., a leading regenerative medicine company focused on developing new approaches to treat major diseases through the application of a stem cell-derived cell therapy, announced today that the Company was granted 20 patents worldwide in 2012, eight U.S. and twelve foreign. These patents bolster the Company’s already strong proprietary position for its ground-breaking diabetes product, VC-01, as well as other applications of its broad technology platform.
VC-01 is a very promising, development-stage product that consists of pancreatic precursor cells (called PEC-01) derived from a proprietary human embryonic stem cell line and encapsulated in a proprietary, immune isolating medical device (the ENCAPTRA® device). When implanted under the skin in suitable animal models, the cells further differentiate into insulin producing and other endocrine cells that regulate blood glucose in a manner similar or identical to a normal pancreas. If VC-01 performs in humans as it has in animal studies, it could effectively cure type 1 diabetics and be an important new therapy for insulin dependent type 2 diabetics.
ViaCyte’s significant intellectual property portfolio now includes over 300 issued patents and pending applications related to the growth, directed differentiation and use of human pluripotent stem cells such as human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. This portfolio includes 51 issued U.S. and foreign patents specifically directed to the Company’s VC-01 product. In addition to the protection afforded by patents, the Company also relies on significant proprietary know-how to develop its product offerings.
Dr. Paul Laikind, ViaCyte’s president and chief executive officer said “Our comprehensive and growing intellectual property portfolio helps to establish us as a leading company in the cell therapy and regenerative medicine field. Although the Company’s resources are currently fully committed to the rapid development of VC-01 as a potentially transformative treatment for patients with insulin-dependent diabetes, our platform technology has many other important applications.”
In July and August of 2012, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (the “Board”) also issued two decisions favoring ViaCyte on motions filed in the patent interference proceedings between ViaCyte and Geron Corporation (Menlo Park, California; NASDAQ: GERN). The interferences involved ViaCyte’s U.S. Patent No. 7,510,876 (“876 Patent”), which is directed to human definitive endoderm cell cultures in vitro. The Board upheld the claims of ViaCyte’s ‘876 Patent in its entirety over Geron’s applications. In September 2012, Geron appealed this decision in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
ViaCyte, a private company that has emerged as a leader 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 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. Once implanted and matured, these cells secrete insulin and other regulatory factors in response to blood glucose levels. ViaCyte’s goal for this potentially transformative diabetes product is long term insulin independence without immune suppression, and without risk of hypoglycemia and other diabetes-related complications.
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.
Liz Bui, Esq. Ph.D.