Stem cell deal reached

January 9, 2002

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and Geron Corporation today announced an agreement for the commercialization of human embryonic stem cell technology.

The agreement resolves a federal lawsuit filed by WARF against Geron in August 2001. Among other things, the agreement allows WiCell Research Institute, a WARF subsidiary, to distribute existing cell lines to academic and governmental researchers without royalties or fees.

The new agreement supercedes an earlier license, and resolves all issues related to a lawsuit filed by WARF against Geron in August 2001.

In the new license, Geron holds exclusive rights to develop therapeutic and diagnostic products from stem cell-derived neural, cardiomyocyte and pancreatic islet cells. Geron also has non-exclusive rights to develop therapeutic and diagnostic products from stem cell-derived hematopoietic, chondrocyte, and osteoblast cells. The agreement also grants Geron non-exclusive rights to develop research products in the following cell types: hepatocytes, neural cells, hematopoietic cells, osteoblasts, pancreatic islets and myocytes.

WARF and Geron have further agreed to grant research rights to existing patents and patent filings to academic and governmental researchers without royalties or fees. Third party for-profit companies may form collaborations with Geron or obtain licenses to Geron’s intellectual property on market terms.

“WARF looks forward to a renewed partnership with Geron.” says Carl Gulbrandsen, managing director of WARF. “We are pleased that we are able to dismiss the lawsuit and resolve our differences on an amicable basis. WARF has always believed that Geron has unique technology that holds promise in bringing effective HES cell therapies to patients in need. The new agreement will allow Geron to succeed in its development program and also enable a large number of scientists in academia and other companies to invest in the field.” Wide public access to Wisconsin’s stem cell lines,” has always been critically important to WARF and the new agreement assures that such access will continue.”

WARF is an independent, non-profit foundation chartered to support research at UW–Madison and the designated technology transfer organization for the university.

WARF holds the patents on professor James Thomson’s discovery that human embryonic stem cells can be isolated and grown in culture.

Geron is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing therapeutic and diagnostic products for applications in oncology and regenerative medicine, and research tools for drug discovery.