WORCESTER, Mass.-- (BUSINESS WIRE)--Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (Advanced Cell, ACT) (OTC: ACTC - News) and a leading leading Korea-based stem cell company, CHA Bio & Diostech Co., Ltd. (CHA Bio), formerly known as CHA Biotech, Co., Ltd. and whose shares are publicly traded on KOSDAQ, announced today that the parties have entered into a licensing agreement under which Advanced Cell will license its proprietary single blastomere technology, which has the potential to generate stable cell lines, including retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells for the treatment of diseases of the eye, to CHA Bio for development and commercialization exclusively in Korea. ACT received an undisclosed up-front license fee. The Company believes there are some 200 different retinal diseases that may be impacted by this stem cell derived therapy including macular degeneration, which represents a $28 billion dollar market. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects more than 30 million people worldwide and is the leading cause of blindness in people over 60 years of age in the United States.
We are pleased to acquire the Korean rights to a promising technology platform which could provide a solution to diseases of the eye, which represent a large market opportunity in Korea, said Moon, ByungWoo, the CEO for CHA Bio. As a result of the acquisition of this license, we believe we have a way to produce cell lines that appear to be identical to hESC lines derived from later stage embryos using techniques that does not destroy the embryos developmental potential. If so, we believe it may represent a solution to the ethical and moral dilemma facing many regarding embryonic stem cell destruction.
We are pleased to further expand our relationship with CHA Bio and to grant a license to develop our blastomere technology for development exclusively in Korea only, said William Caldwell, CEO of Advanced Cell. We expect that our collaborative efforts will accelerate the technology of regenerative medicine therapies internationally. Granting CHA exclusive rights to develop the technology in Korea while ACT retains the right to develop it in the rest of the world, positions ACT to benefit from a relationship with a well-capitalized and successful stem cell company, which allows the Company to expand its knowledge base surrounding this promise technology platform.
Previously, ACT demonstrated the ability to rescue visual function in rats through implantation of RPE cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. In collaboration with Dr Raymond Lund, then at the Moran Eye Institute at the University of Utah and currently working at the Casey Eye Institute at the Oregon Health and Science University, the Company performed RPE cell transplantation into the sub-retinal space in the eyes of RCS rats that naturally become blind in several weeks due to RPE degeneration and photoreceptor death. In the experiments sponsored by the Company, the rats were injected with embryonic stem derived RPE cells into the sub-retinal space of the eye at 21 days after their birth -- an age at which photoreceptor degeneration has not yet occurred. As control measures, some rats received injections of cell culture medium alone or were not injected at all. Subsequently, tests for visual function were performed at 60 and 90 days after birth -- times at which loss of photoreceptor cell has produced characteristic vision deficits. The results represented a major breakthrough. The injected RPE cells grew normally without forming teratomas (tumors). Soon, the rats were able to follow light with their eyes and attained approximately 70% of the spatial acuity of a normal, healthy rat. Necropsy revealed that the eyes had grown layers of the retinal cells. The experiment demonstrated that animals receiving the human embryonic stem cell-derived RPE cells performed significantly better than medium-only treated (50% improvement), or untreated (100% improvement) controls in visual performance. In addition, the human embryonic stem cell-derived RPE cells did not appear to cause any side effects in the animals. The research was published in Cloning and Stem Cells and was also referenced in Scientific American.
The license between ACT and Cha Bio is a part of continuing cooperation and collaboration between the two companies, including a joint venture regarding hemangioblast technology. In March, the Company also announced that it licensed its retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) technology, for the treatment of diseases of the eye, to CHA Bio for development and commercialization exclusively in Korea. ACT is eligible to receive up to a total of $1.9 million in fees based upon the parties achieving certain milestones, including ACT making an IND submission to the US FDA to commence clinical trials in humans using the technology, which ACT currently plans to do during the second half of 2009.
About CHA Bio & Diostech
CHA Bio & Diostech, a leading stem cell company in Korea, was established in September 2000 by CHA University and CHA General Hospital Group to create a central, multidisciplinary research facility where the universitys scientists and hospital physicians could come together and focus their efforts on developing stem cell, gene therapy and regenerative medicine technology. The company is one of the largest companies in terms of its market value on KOSDAQ, the Korean equivalent of NASDAQ.
CHA Bio presently operates the largest stem cell research institute in Korea occupying a modern 130,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art facility staffed with 28 professors and involving 180 of the most prominent research scientists. The Company also successfully operates CHA i-Cord, a cord blood bank, and a mobile healthcare unit called CHA Paramedic Service, both of which were rated #1 in consumer reliability surveys in Korea. As part of its global business strategy, CHA Bio expanded its operations to the United States in 2002 with the opening of CHA Fertility Center in Los Angeles followed by the 2005 acquisition of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, a 434-bed general, acute-care hospital also located in LA.
About Advanced Cell Technology, Inc.
Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. is a biotechnology company applying cellular technology in the emerging field of regenerative medicine with its laboratory located in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Statements in this news release regarding future ability to draw on the credit Facility, future financial and operating results, future growth in research and development programs, potential applications of our technology, opportunities for the Company and any other statements about the future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans, or prospects expressed by management constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any statements that are not statements of historical fact (including statements containing the words will, believes, plans, anticipates, expects, estimates, and similar expressions) should also be considered to be forward-looking statements. There are a number of important factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements, including: the Companys ability to meet all of the conditions to allow it to access the entire amount available under the credit Facility discussed in a previous press release, limited operating history, need for future capital, risks inherent in the development and commercialization of potential products, protection of intellectual property, and economic conditions generally. Additional information on potential factors that could affect our results and other risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in the Companys periodic reports, including the report on Form 10-QSB for the quarter ended September 30, 2007. Forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs, opinions, and expectations of the companys management at the time they are made, and the Company does not assume any obligation to update its forward-looking statements if those beliefs, opinions, expectations, or other circumstances should change.
Forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs, opinions, and expectations of the companys management at the time they are made, and the company does not assume any obligation to update its forward-looking statements if those beliefs, opinions, expectations, or other circumstances should change
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