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VistaGen awarded patents for drug rescue and cell therapy programs.

South San Francisco, Calif.-based VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc. (VSTA), a biotechnology company applying stem cell technology for drug rescue and cell therapy, said it was awarded two additional U.S. patents supporting its therapeutic and drug discovery programs.

Patent No. 7,763,466 is entitled "Mesoderm and Definitive Endoderm Cell Populations;" Patent No. 7,955,849 is entitled "Method of Enriching a Mammalian Cell Population for Mesoderm Cells."

Methods covered in the patents describe the use of activin and serum-free culture conditions for producing endoderm and mesoderm.

"Generally speaking, they expand the application of our activin-driven pluripotent stem cell differentiation technology to include a broader range of tissues and organ systems, and significantly strengthen our market position," said CEO Shawn K. Singh.

Mesoderm and endoderm are two of the three primary early precursors, "germ layers," which develop into all of the non-neuronal cells of the body. Endoderm is the innermost of the three primary developmental germ layers, and develops into the gastrointestinal tract, including the major cells of the liver and pancreas, respiratory tracts of the lungs, other endocrine glands and organs, such as the thyroid and thymus glands, the major cells of the kidney and the auditory and urinary systems.

Mesoderm is the germ layer lying adjacent to the endoderm. These multi-potential cells develop into cardiac and skeletal muscles, all the cells of blood and lymphatic systems, bone, cartilage, fat, the lining of blood vessels, and connective tissues.

Activins are members of the important transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) family of "morphogens," i.e., developmental factors that direct and control the differentiation and eventual fate of early precursor cells.

During development, the body uses differing concentrations of morphogens, similar to activin, to direct precursors to become the various mature cells discussed above. Methods utilizing differing concentrations of activin to direct and control the differentiation of various mature cell types are described in these issued U.S. patents and are widely-believed as having significant commercial value.


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Title Annotation:Patents
Publication:Stem Cell Business News
Date:Oct 10, 2011
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