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StemCells, Inc. Announces License Agreement with Major Pharmaceutical Company Covering Gene Insertion Technology

PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr 16, 2009 - StemCells, Inc. announced today that a major international pharmaceutical company has taken a non-exclusive license to the Company's recently acquired Internal Ribosome Entry Site (IRES) technology. The IRES technology enables the dual expression of a protein of interest and a selectable marker, thereby enabling researchers to genetically modify any mammalian cell and monitor the activity of a particular gene of interest in living cells or tissues without blocking the normal function of the gene. The IRES technology is particularly important for evaluating the success of gene knock-outs or knock-ins in stem cells, as well as the successful creation of transgenic mouse and rat disease models. The IRES technology and related intellectual property (U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,150,169, 7,005,299; EPO Pat. No. 695361) were part of the Company's acquisition of the operating assets of Stem Cell Sciences Plc (SCS).


The financial terms of the license are confidential. In the past seven months, SCS has entered into three non-exclusive license agreements with major pharmaceutical and research-based companies, and revenues under these licenses exceed $1.2 million.

“We are pleased that the pharmaceutical industry continues to recognize the value of this enabling technology and its importance in their research and development efforts,” said Martin McGlynn, President and CEO of StemCells. “We intend to continue actively licensing those in the field who are using this technology for their own R&D activities.”

About StemCells, Inc.

StemCells, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of cell-based therapeutics to treat diseases of the central nervous system and liver. StemCells' product development programs seek to repair or repopulate CNS and liver tissue that has been damaged or lost as a result of disease or injury. StemCells has pioneered the discovery and development of HuCNS-SC® cells, its highly purified, expandable population of human neural stem cells. StemCells has completed a six patient Phase I clinical trial of its proprietary HuCNS-SC product candidate as a treatment for neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL), a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects infants and young children. StemCells has also received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to initiate a Phase I clinical trial of the HuCNS-SC cells to treat Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease (PMD), also a rare and fatal brain disorder that mainly affects young children. StemCells is also seeking to leverage its investments in cell technologies to develop non-therapeutic applications, such as cell-based assays, media and reagent tools, which the Company believes represent nearer-term commercial opportunities. StemCells has exclusive rights to approximately 55 issued or allowed U.S. patents and approximately 200 granted or allowed non-U.S. patents. Further information about StemCells is available on its web site at:

Apart from statements of historical fact, the text of this press release constitutes forward-looking statements regarding, among other things, the future business operations of StemCells, Inc. (the “Company”), the potential benefits and synergies arising from the SCS transaction, and the Company's ability to leverage the SCS assets and realize their value. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this news release. The Company does not undertake to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that occur after the date hereof. Such statements reflect management's current views and are based on certain assumptions that may or may not ultimately prove valid. The Company's actual results may vary materially from those contemplated in such forward-looking statements due to risks and uncertainties to which the Company is subject, including uncertainties about, and the costs associated with, the integration of the acquired SCS operations; uncertainties about the effects of the integration with respect to maintaining relationships with employees, licensees, other business partners or governmental entities; risks whether the FDA or other applicable regulatory agencies will permit the Company to continue clinical testing in NCL, PMD or in future clinical trials of proposed therapies for other diseases or conditions despite the novel and unproven nature of the Company's technologies; uncertainties about whether the Company will receive the necessary support of a clinical trial site and its institutional review board to initiate a clinical trial in PMD; uncertainties regarding the Company's ability to obtain the increased capital resources needed to continue its current and planned research and development operations, including such operations of the company for non-therapeutic applications, and to conduct the research, preclinical development and clinical trials necessary for regulatory approvals; uncertainty as to whether HuCNS-SC and any products that may be generated in the future in the Company's cell-based programs will prove safe and clinically effective and not cause tumors or other adverse side effects; uncertainties regarding the Company's manufacturing capabilities given its increasing preclinical and clinical commitments; and other factors that are described under the heading “Risk Factors” in Item 1A of Part I of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K.



Contact: StemCells, Inc.
Rodney Young, 650-475-3100 ext. 105
Chief Financial Officer

Posted: April 2009