NeoStem Acquires Stem Cell Technologies from UTEK Corporation
Acquisition Provides Initial Opportunity for the Development of Therapeutic Applications
TAMPA, Fla. & NEW YORK-- UTEK Corporation (AMEX:UTK) (LSE-AIM:UTK), an open innovation company focused on technology transfer, and NeoStem, Inc. (AMEX:NBS), a leading-edge biotechnology company capitalizing on breakthroughs in the burgeoning field of adult stem cell therapeutics, are pleased to announce that NeoStem, Inc. has acquired Stem Cell Technologies, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of UTEK, in a stock for stock transaction.
Stem Cell Technologies, Inc. owns a worldwide exclusive license to a technology developed by researchers at the University of Louisville to identify and isolate rare stem cells from adult human bone marrow, called VSELs (very small embryonic-like) stem cells. VSELs have been shown to have several physical characteristics that are generally found in embryonic stem cells. They also have been shown to grow in the laboratory and multiply into clusters of cells that then can differentiate into specialized cells found in different types of tissue including cardiac, neural, endothelial, muscle, pancreatic and hematopoietic cells.
â€œI am enthusiastic about working with NeoStem, Inc. to further develop the potential of VSELs,â€ said Mariusz Z. Ratajczak, M.D., Ph.D., a co-inventor of the VSEL technology and head of the Stem Cell Biology Program at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville. â€œWe have both purified and identified at a single cell level an adult counterpart of embryonic stem cells that is present in adult bone marrow. We believe these cells are a real alternative to embryonic stem cells for obtaining a population of histocompatible, pluripotent stem cells for regenerative purposes.â€ In 2006, Dr. Ratajczak was honored by his native Polandâ€™s Foundation for Polish Science with a â€œPolish Nobel Prizeâ€, for his VSEL discovery, which goes to researchers who have accomplished the most in their field.
â€œThe potential exists for the isolated VSELs to differentiate into specified cells that could be given to a patient where they would interact within the specific organ in order to repair degenerated, damaged or diseased tissue, the three â€œDâ€™s of aging.â€ NeoStem is enthusiastic about this technology and its potential to help expand our proprietary position in the adult stem cell collection and storage arena as well as the burgeoning field of regenerative medicine,â€ said Dr. Robin Smith, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Executive Officer of NeoStem, Inc.
â€œNeoStem has the ability to harvest and cryopreserve these pluripotent VSELs from individual patients, setting the stage for their use in personalized regenerative medicine,â€ said Dr. Wayne Marasco, Chairman of NeoStemâ€™s Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Marasco is also Associate Professor in the Department of Cancer Immunology and AIDS at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. â€œFurther, if VSELs can be expanded from individual patients and their potential to develop into different types of tissue cells maintained, it would represent a significant step toward overcoming the two major limitations in the development of stem cell therapies today, the ethical dilemma that has given rise to debate over using human embryonic stem cells for research and the immunological problems associated with using stem cells from a donor other than oneâ€™s self.â€
"UTEK is pleased to consummate this technology transfer with NeoStem, Inc.," said Jennifer Willis Adams, Manager of Technology Licensing at UTEK Corporation.
Concurrent with the Stem Cell Technologies, Inc. acquisition, NeoStem entered into a Sponsored Research Agreement with the University of Louisville under which NeoStem will support further research in the University of Louisville laboratory of Dr. Ratajczak, a portion of which will be covered by the acquisition.
About the University of Louisville Research Foundation
The Mission of the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research is to promote and support research, scholarship, and creative activities; to assist faculty and staff in obtaining intramural and extramural support; to serve as an advocate for the value of research in an educational setting; to enhance the vitality of campus-based research; and to encourage its use to enrich education, enhance technology transfer and serve the community. For more information about the University of Louisville, please visit its website at www.research.louisville.edu.
About NeoStem, Inc.
NeoStem, Inc. is a publicly traded company positioned to become a leader in the adult stem cell field and to capitalize on the increasing importance that adult stem cells are expected to play in the future of regenerative medicine. Using its proprietary process, NeoStem seeks to provide the infrastructure, methods and systems that allow adults to have their stem cells safely collected and conveniently banked for future therapeutic use, as needed, in the treatment of such life-threatening diseases as diabetes, heart disease and radiation sickness that may result from a bio-terrorist attack. Adult stem cell therapy has also been used for many years in treating blood cancer. Further potential uses include regenerative therapies for wound healing, autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and lupus, and age-related degenerative musculoskeletal diseases. For more information about NeoStem, Inc., please visit its website at www.neostem.com.
About UTEK Corporation
UTEKÂ® is an open innovation company focused on technology transfer. UTEKâ€™s services enable companies to acquire technologies from universities and research laboratories worldwide. UTEK facilitates the identification and acquisition of externally developed technologies for its clients. In addition, UTEK provides services to help companies create value from their intellectual property. UTEK is a business development company with operations in the United States, United Kingdom and Israel. For more information about UTEK, please visit its website at www.utekcorp.com.
Certain matters discussed in this press release are "forward-looking statements." These forward-looking statements can generally be identified as such because the context of the statement will include words, such as UTEK or NeoStem, Inc. "expects," "should," "believes," "anticipates" or words of similar import. Similarly, statements that describe UTEK's or NeoStem, Inc.â€™s future plans, objectives or goals, are also forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, including the financial performance of UTEK or NeoStem, Inc., as appropriate, and the valuation of UTEK's investment portfolio, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those currently anticipated. Although UTEK and NeoStem, Inc. believe the expectations reflected in any forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, they cannot give any assurance that their expectations will be attained. Shareholders, potential investors and other readers are urged to consider these factors carefully in evaluating any forward-looking statements. Certain factors could cause results and conditions to differ materially from those projected in these forward-looking statements, and some of these factors are discussed below. These factors are not exhaustive. New factors, risks and uncertainties may emerge from time to time that may affect the forward-looking statements made herein. These forward-looking statements are only made as of the date of this press release and both UTEK and NeoStem, Inc. do not undertake any obligation to publicly update such forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.
UTEK's operating results could fluctuate significantly due to a number of factors. These factors include the small number of transactions that are completed each quarter, the value of individual transactions, the timing of the recognition and the magnitude of unrealized and realized gains and losses of companies in its portfolio, UTEK's dependence on the performance of companies in its portfolio, the possibility that advances in technology could render the technologies it has transferred obsolete, the loss of technology licenses by companies in its portfolio, the degree to which it encounters competition in its markets, the volatility of the stock market and the volatility of the valuations of the companies it has invested in as it relates to its realized and unrealized gains and losses, the concentration of investments in a small number of companies, as well as other general economic conditions. As a result of these and other factors, current results may not be indicative of UTEK's future performance. For more information on UTEK and for a more complete discussion of the risks pertaining to an investment in UTEK, please refer to UTEK's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
NeoStemâ€™s ability to enter the adult stem cell arena, including in connection with the VSEL technology, its success in such arena and future operating results are dependent upon many factors, including but not limited to (i) the Company's ability to obtain sufficient capital or a strategic business arrangement to fund its expansion plans; (ii) the Company's ability to build the management and human resources and infrastructure necessary to support the growth of its business; (iii) competitive factors and developments beyond the Company's control; (iv) scientific and medical developments beyond the Company's control; (v) the Company's inability to obtain appropriate state licenses or any other adverse effect or limitations caused by government regulation of the business; (vi) whether any of the Company's current or future patent applications result in issued patents; (vii) the Companyâ€™s success in developing technology licensed by it; and (viii) other risk factors discussed in the Company's periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission which are available for review at www.neostem.com under "Investorsâ€; â€œPublic Filingsâ€.