News Column

International Stem Cell Reports Core Technology Patents in European Union

July 25, 2014

International Stem Cell Corp. received formal opinion from the Advocate General for the European Union Court of Justice in favor of the Company's pending core technology patents.

In its release dated July 22, Andrey Semechkin, the Company's Co- Chairman and CEO said: "A favorable ruling by the CJEU in this case would give ISCO a unique advantage. Having the ability to seek patent protection in all 28 counties of the EU would not only enhance our ability to attract partners to develop stem cell therapies, but could also stimulate further investment by pharmaceutical companies who up to this point have been somewhat on the sidelines in part because of the intellectual property risks."

The European Union's highest court was asked to clarify whether its interpretation of the EU Directive on Legal Protection of Biotechnological Inventions in the 2011 Brustle vs. Greenpeace case excluded ISCO's core technology -- parthenogenetic stem cells -- from patentability under the EU law. According to the Advocate General's interpretation, the Biotechnology Directive should not prohibit patenting of parthenogenetic stem cells.

The Company appealed the UK IPO's rejection, arguing that CJEU's ruling in Brustle was incorrect as a matter of scientific fact with respect to parthenogenetic stem cells.

The UK court referred the question of whether parthenotes were 'human embryos' within the meaning of the Biotechnology Directive to the CJEU.

The Company said in his opinion, the EU Court's Advocate General concluded that with one technical caveat the question should be answered in the negative. According to the top advisor's reading of the ruling in Brustle, the key criterion for determining whether an unfertilized ovum is a human embryo is whether the ovum possesses the inherent capacity to develop into a human being. Parthenotes, in the Advocate General's view, cannot be said to possess such inherent capacity given the current scientific knowledge, and as such should not be considered 'human beings' within the meaning of the Biotechnology Directive.

A confirmation of the Advocate General's opinion from the CJEU is expected within the coming months.

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Source: Health & Beauty Close - Up


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