SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Jan. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- ITL Laboratories, L.L.C. ("ITL"), a company engaged in the research and development of umbilical cord and adult stem cells for the treatment of neurological and degenerative diseases, issued a statement today clarifying that the recent study reporting contamination of embryonic stem cells is not related to its umbilical cord and adult stem cell research initiatives.
"Embryonic stem cells remain a controversial subject for the public and media. However, little has been done to educate the public that other options such as umbilical cord or adult stem cells exist as viable alternatives," stated Neil Riordan, C.E.O. of ITL. "Embryo-derived stem cell research is controversial because the stem cells must be taken from an embryo, or unborn baby. On the contrary, umbilical cord and placental stem cells can be isolated from umbilical cords and placentas that are normally discarded after a healthy birth," Riordan stated further.
A recent study published in the online edition of Nature Medicine, found contamination of a specific type of nonhuman, cell-surface sialic acid called Neu5Gc in human embryonic stem cells -- including those currently approved for study under federal funding in the United States. Those cells were cultured with the use of animal products and/or feeder layers of non-human cells. ITL's research involves only stem cells cultured from either umbilical cords or from the patient's own muscle or fat. ITL's proprietary technology for the expansion of umbilical cord stem cells requires no animal products or feeder layers.
Originally it was thought that only embryonic stem cells had the ability to specialize and become different types of tissues such as nerve cells, liver cells, heart cells, kidney cells, bone marrow and cartilage cells. However, researchers have used umbilical cord stem cells since 1988, and recent animal and human studies have shown that stem cells isolated from umbilical cords have similar potential.
EpiPharma, Inc. ("EpiPharma") (Pink Sheets: EPHM) announced on January 18, 2005 that it has entered into an agreement to purchase 25% of ITL, an entity engaged in the research, development and administration of adult stem cells, including human umbilical cord stem cells (USCs) for the treatment of neurological and degenerative diseases.
EpiPharma was formed on September 13th, 2001 as a subsidiary of Baywood International, Inc. ("Baywood") (OTCBB: BYWD) and began trading on the Pink Sheets on December 14, 2004. A letter of intent to acquire Aidan Products, L.L.C. ("Aidan") was originally signed by Baywood on May 19, 2004 and was renewed and transferred to EpiPharma on January 17, 2005. EpiPharma may immediately exercise its option to invest in ITL upon the close of the acquisition of Aidan. EpiPharma will remain as a majority-owned subsidiary of Baywood after the proposed transaction to acquire Aidan and the investment in ITL is completed.
EpiPharma, Inc. (Pink Sheets: EPHM) focuses on the development, production and acquisition of complex nutraceuticals and other novel technologies for therapeutic applications. EpiPharma's current objective is to sell these complex nutraceutical products through healthcare practitioners and to administer its novel technologies through other healthcare channels. Contact EpiPharma, Inc. at 1-800-519-2037 or for more information visit http://www.epipharma.com/.
Baywood International, Inc. (OTC BB: BYWD) is a nutraceutical company specializing in the development, marketing and distribution of its own proprietary brands under the names Baywood PURECHOICE(R), Baywood SOLUTIONS(R) and Complete La Femme(R). The Company's products are distributed through independent and chain health food stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, and other direct-to-consumer channels both internationally and domestically. Contact Baywood International, Inc. at 1-888-350-0799 or for more information visit http://www.bywd.com/.
This press release may contain forward-looking statements, made in reliance upon Section 21D of the Exchange Act of 1934, which involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties or other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results, performance, or expectations implied by these forward-looking statements. The Issuer's expectations among other things are dependent upon general economic conditions, continued demand for its products, the availability of raw materials, retention of its key management and operating personnel, as well as other uncontrollable or unknown factors which are more fully disclosed in Baywood's Form 10-KSB's and 10-QSB's on file with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.