The stem cell effort consists of technology
development in the U.S. aimed at the production, expansion, and differentiation of
multipotent stem cells. Revivicors program involves the de-differentiation of skin
fibroblast cells, thus bypassing the need for creating and then destroying human embryos
or fetal tissues. It should be noted that this proprietary method does not provide the
ability to create an embryo, and thus is not "therapeutic cloning."
Revivicors technology represents a new paradigm for the generation of stem cells.
In addition to
benefits from the ethical perspective, this method has the advantage that because it uses
readily-available skin cells as the starting material, it is not subject to supply
constraints of existing sources of embryonic material. This new and unlimited source of
stem cell lines could be used to produce differentiated cell lines for a variety of
The stem cell
program is currently supported by a grant from the US Department of Commerce Advanced
Technology Program (ATP), totaling $1.9 million over three years (ending Jan.
04). The ATP grant has served to not only provide early-stage technology development
funding, but also establishes a third party independent validation of the cutting edge
science and technological potential which exists in this program. The company has made
significant progress in developing tolerogenic cells from differentiated stem cells, and
has patented this technology. In addition, therapeutic cell lines will be developed for
diabetes as well as neuronal cell applications (Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and
spinal cord repair).
of concept has been demonstrated for stem-like cells from bovine, porcine, and rhesus
systems via dedifferentiation Revivicors plan is to continue the work in the
US in generating non-embryo derived stem cells, and later partnering with various groups
that will focus on differentiation of embryonic stem cells into specific cell types (with
the initial focus on derivation of insulin-producing cells) using embryonic-derived cells.
The two programs will then be combined, such that large numbers of non-embryo derived stem
cells will be differentiated using the methods developed in the mouse and human ES cell
This strategy has a number of key advantages. First, it provides for the
ability to generate stem cells without the supply constraint that is clearly apparent by
the lack of a large number of embryonic-derived lines available in the world. Second, it
provides for a proprietary position, as Revivicors source of stem cells will be
obtained through nuclear transfer-like methods, similar to the technology which created
Dolly and the cloned pigs, and which is a core competency of the company. Third,
Revivicors source of stem cells removes all of the ethical concerns about
creating/using/destroying a human embryo. Revivicor would act as a supplier of stem cells
using our proprietary method and license rights to the technology to various groups with
expertise in stem cell differentiation. Revivicor may grant full marketing and
manufacturing rights in such a deal, or, simply act as a manufacturing supplier
intermediate. This strategy has the benefit of providing near term revenue, as well as
later manufacturing profits and royalties on in market sales as the technology develops
into commercial products.