PALO ALTO, Calif.—StemCells Inc. last month announced a license agreement with Calgary, Alberta-based Stem Cell Therapeutics Corp. (STC) a biotechnology company engaged in treating certain central nervous system (CNS) disorders by stimulating endogenous neural stem cells. The agreement also provides StemCells with access to STC's intellectual property portfolio for use in drug discovery, screening and testing, and therapeutic use of cellular compositions.
As is typical of most agreements of this sort, STC has agreed to an upfront payment and maintenance fees for the patent license as well as additional milestone and royalties should the company bring a product to market as a result of their use of the intellectual property. Further, should StemCells develop any commercial products resulting from the rights they gained from STC, the company will negotiate in good faith appropriate royalties.
"Having STC as our newest licensees in the neural stem cell field made sense for us since their approach is different from ours," says Rodney Young, CFO of StemCells. "We are focused on using the cells themselves via direct transplantation as a method of treatment for CNS, while STC is focused on using biologicals to stimulate the growth of these cells within the body."
In essence, the deal between the two companies comes down to each company finding a way to use existing intellectual property held under a variety of patents that don't pertain to each company's particular research focus.
"We have an IP portfolio that we think is dominant in the field, most of which covers our uses for transplantation," says Young. "But we also have IP related to drug discovery and screening that can be useful for ongoing research for companies taking a different approach which is the case with STC."
For the folks at STC, the deal represents a chance to further the study of neural stem cells for therapeutics along two distinct paths. "Stem Cell Therapeutics is focused on a drug-based approach to treating disease, while StemCells is developing cell-based therapeutic approaches using adult stem cells. I believe that this agreement should help both companies achieve their ultimate goals of bringing effective stem cell therapies to the patients who need them," says Dr. Joseph Tucker, STC president and CEO.