International Stem Cell Corporation (OTCBB:ISCO), http://www.intlstemcell.com, today announced significant progress on its international development strategy for stem cell-derived human corneal tissue. Such tissue can potentially be used to replace cadaver-derived corneas in treatment of severe corneal vision impairment and to eliminate the need to use live animals in safety testing of drugs, chemicals and consumer products.
During a recent trip to Asia and Europe, an ISCO senior management team identified and interacted with a group of integrated eye hospitals and ophthalmology research institutions with world-class laboratory facilities, along with potential sources of research funding. One of these is Sankara Nethralaya (http://www.sankaranethralaya.org), one of India's leading not-for-profit clinical and research organizations dedicated to treatment of eye diseases.
Research during the past ten to fifteen years has demonstrated stem cell differentiation into a variety of human cell types. Rarely has it been possible to produce such integrated, functional human tissue, in this case, tissue that has characteristics compatible with human cornea in structure and function. This tissue technology may offer a first-in-class opportunity for high-quality, cost-efficient transplantation tissue for the 10 million people world-wide suffering from corneal vision impairment, particularly in Asia and Europe. It may also provide a much needed alternative to the use of live and extracted animal eyes in the $500+M market for safety testing of drugs, chemicals and consumer products.
During the coming months, ISCO expects to formalize relationships with a number of entities such as Sankara Nethralaya to provide ISCO's cornea development program with the scientific, facility and financial resources needed to advance the technology as rapidly as possible to clinical application. The ultimate goal is not only to address the clear unmet medical and safety testing needs, but also to be among the first pluripotent stem cell applications to achieve widespread commercialization.
Dr. Sengamedu Srinivasa Badrinath, President and Chairman Emeritus of Sankara Nethralaya says: 'At Sankara Nethralaya, we see 1,600 eye patients and do over 100 eye surgeries a day. We employ sixty scientists and clinicians dedicated to the development and application of new state-of-the-art ophthalmic technologies. My senior team at Sankara Nethralaya and I look forward to helping ISCO advance its cornea technology that has potential to significantly reduce the severe quantitative and qualitative limitations in corneal donor tissue across the world today.'
Brian Lundstrom, ISCO's President, continues: 'The addition of Sankara Nethralaya to our international collaborative network will contribute substantial scientific and clinical ophthalmology expertise and resources and complement the instrumentation alliance with The Automation Partnership and the safety testing collaboration with Absorptions Systems. The next step is to organize an experienced therapeutic development team to establish the optimal development path with relevant regulatory authorities and create data needed to advance ISCO's stem cell-derived corneal tissue into clinical trials.'
ABOUT INTERNATIONAL STEM CELL CORPORATION (ISCO.OB):
International Stem Cell Corporation is a California-based biotechnology company focused on therapeutic and research products. ISCO's core technology, parthenogenesis, results in creation of pluripotent human parthenogenetic stem cells (hpSCs) from unfertilized oocytes (eggs). hpSCs avoid ethical issues associated with the use or destruction of viable human embryos. ISCO scientists have created the first parthenogenic, homozygous stem cell line that can be a source of therapeutic cells with minimal immune rejection after transplantation into hundreds of millions of individuals of differing sexes, ages and racial groups. This offers the potential to create the first true stem cell bank, UniStemCell™, while avoiding the ethical issue of using fertilized eggs. ISCO also produces and markets specialized cells and growth media for therapeutic research worldwide through its subsidiary Lifeline Cell Technology. More information is available at ISCO's website, http://www.internationalstemcell.com.
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Statements pertaining to anticipated technological developments and therapeutic applications, and other opportunities for the company and its subsidiary, along with other statements about the future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans, or prospects expressed by management constitute forward-looking statements. Any statements that are not historical fact (including, but not limited to statements that contain words such as "will," "should," "believes," "plans," "anticipates," "expects," "estimates,") should also be considered to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and/or commercialization of potential products, uncertainty in the results of clinical trials or regulatory approvals, need and ability to obtain future capital, application of capital resources among competing uses, and maintenance of intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements and as such should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect the company's business, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements found in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The company disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
Key Words: Stem Cells, Biotechnology, Parthenogenesis
International Stem Cell Corporation
Kenneth C. Aldrich, Chairman
Brian Lundstrom, President
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