November 14, 2011 - The Wall Street Transcript has just published Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals Report offering a timely review of the sector. This Special Report contains expert industry commentary through in-depth interviews with public company CEOs, Equity Analysts and Money Managers. Please find an excerpt below.
Kenneth C. Aldrich is Co-Chairman and Co-Founder of International Stem Cell Corporation, a publicly traded regenerative-medicine company. International Stem Cell has created a new class of human stem cells that can do all the things embryonic stem cells can do, but without the ethical issues that arise from the use of human embryos and with the potential to solve the problem of immune rejection in stem cell therapy. Mr. Aldrich holds degrees, with honors, from both Harvard University and Harvard Law School and practiced law with the Los Angeles-based firm of O'Melveny & Myers before leaving in 1969 to build a career in finance.
TWST: Let's start with a short history and overview of International Stem Cell Corporation's operations.
Mr. Aldrich: International Stem Cell (ISCO) began back in 2007 as a public company built around our development of a new class of stem cells that had all of the positive characteristics of embryonic stem cells in that they could become any cell in the body but avoided the ethical issues because we didn't use a fertilized egg. These cells are called parthenogenetic stem cells. We built the company around that core technology, in-licensed over a 100 different patents and patent applications from other companies, primarily from Advanced Cell Technology, as well as having our own recent patents covering the process for developing parthenogenetic stem cells. So we are in a group of companies that use a true pluripotent stem cell, which is a cell that can become any cell in the body.We are different from embryonic stem cells in that we do not involve a fertilized egg, and there is no destruction of human life or anything that could become human life.
TWST: Your first series of preclinical studies designed to support the safety and utility of neurones was successful. Would you comment on the opportunity addressed by this study and its success?
Mr. Aldrich: Yes, we actually are involved in three studies of animals. These are not FDA preclinical. They're our own laboratory animal studies conducted through third-party universities. We've done work with retinal cells demonstrating that they do indeed engraft and do not produce teratomas, which can become a cancer. We've also produced liver cells and performed similar studies with those, and with positive results.
Most recently, we've done the same thing with neuronal cells that we've developed. So we've developed three classes of cells that are now being tested in animals, and we'll repeat those tests until we're very confident that we have the kind of data that we are ready to go into the FDA with. All the indications are very, very good so far.In addition, we've grown a human cornea in a petri dish, and we're working now outside the U.S., primarily in India, to develop those corneas as a cornea transplant, a substitute for using cadaver corneas.
TWST: Are there other companies working along the same lines as International Stem Cell? What are your competitive advantages?
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