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Stem Cell Sciences plc (STEM.L) Enters into Services Agreement with Huntingdon's Disease Research Group, CHDI Foundation Inc.


11/10/2008 9:20:43 AM

CAMBRIDGE, England, November 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --

- ("Stem Cell Sciences", "SCS", "the Company")

Stem Cell Sciences plc , a company focused on the commercialisation of stem cells and stem cell technologies, announces that it has entered into an agreement with CHDI Foundation, Inc., to support the standardisation of CHDI's novel mouse embryonic stem (ES) cell lines. CHDI is a US non-profit organisation pursuing treatments for Huntington's disease (HD). The cell lines have been produced over a period of several years under varying conditions, and conversion to a standard methodology is expected to facilitate their use in HD-related research towards the development of new HD drugs and diagnostics.

CHDI and its collaborators have developed a unique series of 20 ES cell lines from genetically modified mouse models that mimic aspects of Huntington's disease. These cell lines and mouse models represent an important tool for medical researchers to use in a wide variety of research programmes in HD, a genetic neurological disorder affecting 7 in 100,000 people. High-quality mouse ES cells are expected to be important and valuable for drug target validation and drug screening efforts.

Under the service agreement announced today, SCS will create standard culture conditions for CHDI's mouse ES cell lines using its serum-free and feeder-free ESGRO Complete(TM) media. Financial terms have not been disclosed. Initially, SCS will convert three cell lines to the standardised culture conditions and will monitor their viability and stability during this process. If successful, the Company may have the opportunity to apply its proprietary technologies across the entire range of CHDI's mouse ES cell lines, as well as providing the Foundation and researchers with media and reagents for future programmes.

"Switching these cell lines to ESGRO Complete(TM) media will allow researchers around the world to apply uniform media and growth conditions for easy maintenance of CHDI's mouse model ES cell lines, removing a substantial source of experimental variability," said George Murphy, Senior Vice President of SCS LLC. "The deal is a further validation of the quality of SCS' media, and repeat use of CHDI's cell lines is expected to generate further revenue growth from ESGRO Complete(TM)."

"The experience of Stem Cell Sciences in standardising conditions for growing stem cells should help accelerate the evaluation of the various mouse ES cells for HD target validation and drug discovery programs. Working with SCS furthers CHDI's goal of making high quality reagents available to the HD research community," said Dr Jamshid Arjomand, Director of Basic Research at CHDI, overseeing the Foundation's stem cell initiative.

ESGRO Complete(TM) and several other proprietary SCS media products are distributed worldwide under an exclusive licence agreement with Chemicon/Millipore Corporation.

About Stem Cell Sciences plc

Stem Cell Sciences (SCS) is an international research and development company focusing on the commercial application of stem cell biology technologies for drug discovery and regenerative medicine research. Stem Cell Sciences is now focussing on building revenues through the sale of products, collaborative research and licensing deals with international biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

Stem Cell Sciences has a substantial portfolio of patents and patent applications in both adult and embryonic stem cell fields. The Company has been active in the stem cell research field since 1994, principally focused on technologies to grow, differentiate, and purify adult and embryonic stem cells. These include technologies to permit the generation of highly purified stem cells and their differentiated progeny (specialised tissue cell types) for use in genetic, pharmacological and toxicological screens. Moreover, these technologies may be able to provide pure populations of appropriate cell types for transplantation therapies in the future.

The Company has its main research base and headquarters in Cambridge, UK with a second research base in Monash near Melbourne, Australia and a business development office in San Francisco, USA.

For further information on the company please visit: http://www.stemcellsciences.com.

About Huntington's Disease

Huntington's disease is a familial disease caused by a mutation in the huntingtin gene. Each child of a parent with a mutation in the huntingtin gene has a 50-50 chance of inheriting the mutation. As a result of carrying the mutation, an individual's brain cells fail and die leading to cognitive and physical impairments that, over the course of the disease, significantly impair the individual's quality of life and ultimately causes death. Symptoms of Huntington's disease, which generally develop in midlife and become progressively more debilitating as time passes, can also develop in infancy or old age. Once overt symptoms start, patients live for about 15 to 20 years. One person in 10,000 is believed to carry a mutation in the huntingtin gene. There is currently no way to delay the onset of symptoms or slow the progression of Huntington's disease.

About CHDI Foundation, Inc.

CHDI is a non-profit organization with a mission to rapidly discover and develop drugs that delay or slow Huntington's disease. CHDI supports an international network of research laboratories from academia and industry pursuing novel therapies for the treatment of Huntington's disease. As a collaborative enabler, CHDI seeks to bring the right partners together to identify and address critical scientific issues and move drug candidates to clinical evaluation as quickly as possible. More information about CHDI can be found at http://www.chdifoundation.org.

CONTACT: For further information, please contact: Stem Cell Sciences plc
(United Kingdom), Alastair Riddell, CEO, Tim Allsopp, Chief Scientific
Officer, +44(0)1223-499160; Stem Cell Sciences llc (USA), George Murphy,
Vice President Business Development, +1-415-495-7340; Stem Cell Sciences
pty ltd (Australia), Paul Bello, Operations Manager, +61(0)400-500-495,
CHDI Foundation, Inc., Bonnie Lee La Madeleine, Communications Director,
Tel: +1-310-342-5524, Bonnielee.lamadeleine@chdifoundation.org; Citigate
Dewe Rogerson (For SCS, United Kingdom), Mark Swallow / Emma Palmer Foster
/ Amber Bielecka, +44(0)20-7638-9571; Talk Biotech (For SCS, Australia),
Fay Weston, Director, +61(0)422-206-036; Daniel Stewart & Company (NOMAD to
SCS, United Kingdom), Simon Leathers / Simon Starr +44(0)207-776-6566



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