Stem Cell Sciences in-licenses technology from University of Cambridge for reprogramming a...


Stem Cell Sciences plc (AIM:STEM, ASX:STC), a company focused on the commercialisation of stem cells and stem cell technologies, has signed a licence agreement with Cambridge Enterprise Limited that gives the Company access to certain technologies created by Professor Austin Smith for reprogramming adult cells into stem cells.

Professor Smith is one of the world’s leading experts in the field of stem cell biology. He is Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research at the University of Cambridge, and Chairman of SCS’s Scientific Advisory Board. Over the past two decades, he has pioneered new techniques for generating high quality stem cells, which are expected to have enormous potential in medical research, drug discovery and for the development of cell-based therapies.

The agreement, signed with Cambridge Enterprise Limited, the technology transfer office of the University of Cambridge, relates specifically to patents and know-how for technologies used to generate ‘induced pluripotent stem cells’ or iPS cells from mammalian cells. Importantly, this new approach offers the significant benefit that mammalian embryos are not required as the starting point for generating pluripotent stem cells. The novel growth media that have been developed for the generation of iPS cells are expected to be valuable additions to the Company’s media offering, an important and growing source of revenue.

SCS has built a strong portfolio of intellectual property around the development and commercialisation of stem cell technologies, and this new licence strengthens this portfolio further. In addition, the new licence enhances the Company’s close relationship and continuing collaboration with Professor Smith, whose earlier discoveries at the University of Edinburgh, have also been exclusively in-licensed by the Company.

Dr Alastair Riddell, Chief Executive Officer of Stem Cell Sciences, commented, “Two of the largest issues facing companies working in the stem cell field are first, creating and growing consistently pure populations of human stem cells as a basis for further medical and pharmaceutical research; and second, avoiding using human embryos from which to generate those stem cells. We believe that, through this new licence with Cambridge Enterprise and other intellectual property to which we have exclusive access, Stem Cell Sciences has the ability to successfully overcome these issues and to drive future stem cell technology developments forward both from an academic and commercial perspective. We are therefore very pleased to continue our excellent relationship with Professor Smith in this way.”

Dr Iain Thomas, Head of Life Sciences, Cambridge Enterprise, said, “We are delighted to be working with both Professor Austin Smith and Stem Cell Sciences to commercialise this technology, which has the real potential to revolutionise stem cell research and contribute to the development of new therapies.”


Cambridge Enterprise exists to help University of Cambridge inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs make their ideas and concepts more commercially successful for the benefit of society, the UK economy, the inventors and the University.

Cambridge Enterprise, University of Cambridge