StemCells, Inc. announced that the United Kingdom (UK) Intellectual Property Office has granted patent number GB2451523 with broad claims covering true (germline competent) rat stem cells and genetically engineered rats derived from these cells. The patented technology is expected to have significant utility to academic and pharmaceutical industry researchers by enabling them to create novel rat models for the study of human diseases. Both mice and rats are used by scientists to model various human diseases. However, rat models are more frequently used by pharmaceutical companies because the physiological characteristics of rats make them better suited for assessing drug efficacy and toxicity.
The company holds an exclusive license to commercialize this technology and is globally prosecuting the patent family that claims it. The patent family is based upon groundbreaking research led by prominent academic researchers at the University of Edinburgh.
“This is the first patent granted anywhere in the world that protects the derivation and use of pluripotent rat stem cells and the creation of genetically engineered rats,” stated Ann Tsukamoto, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Research and Development at StemCells, Inc. “This technology provides the missing link to create rat models for a wider range of human diseases previously not possible due to a lack of the true pluripotent stem cells needed for precise genetic engineering. We believe this technology, together with our recently launched GS1-R cell culture medium, will enable academic and industry researchers to create new, more sophisticated rat models that could prove invaluable in medical research and drug discovery. We look forward to exploring licensing and development opportunities with third parties wishing to commercialize rat models derived from pluripotent rat stem cells.”
This patent adds to a broad base of technologies that StemCells is leveraging as part of its strategy to commercialize tools to enable stem cell-based research and drug discovery. The patent details composition of matter claims to pluripotent stem cells of the rat, including both embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The patent also covers genetically engineered rat models derived from such cells, including the generation of both “knock-out” and “knock-in” rats. Knock-out rats allow researchers to study the effect of gene deletion, which is useful for disease modeling. Knock-in rats allow researchers to study the effect of inserting non-native genes, such as human genes, in a precisely defined manner, which can be useful for predicting human responses to drug candidates earlier in the product development cycle.
Date: March 17, 2010
Source: StemCells, Inc.