Thursday, July 26, 2007

More on the ESI retreat from embryonic stem cell research

Further to an earlier post about a "3 billion dollar jug of snake oil," the recent retreat by ESI, covered by Science, has produced some harsh statements:

The Courier Mail (Australia) had text:

EMBRYONIC stem cell research has suffered a major blow with a
major Singaporean/Australian company abandoning work on therapies due to lack
of success and soaring costs.(...)

But making well-functioning, insulin-producing cells ''proved
really difficult'', Professor Colman said, as both therapies would have needed
at least a billion cells for each dose and producing them at such numbers was
prohibitively expensive.

Australia's leading adult stem cell scientist, Professor Alan
Mackay-Sim, director of the National Centre for Adult Stem Cell Research at
Griffith University, said he was not surprised.

''If you go to stem cell meetings people are saying that scaling
up to the required number is a real problem with embryonic stem cells as are the
problems of immune rejection and tumour formation,'' he said.

The article also noted: The company, which had raised $24 million in investment, is a commercial partner of the Australian Stem Cell Centre and has claims to the
intellectual property rights of Monash University stem cell researchers as well as
those of universities in Singapore, Holland and Israel.

IPBiz asks: could this be the same Monash University of which a certain professor recently criticized the patent rights of James Thomson and WARF?

See the IPBiz post of July 4 which contains the text:

Declarations from three other scientists also were filed with the patent office Friday and released by the challengers Monday. Those scientists are Chad Cowan of Harvard, Jeanne Loring of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in San Diego, and Alan Trounson of Monash University in Australia.


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