Key Reasons to Look at International Stem Cell Corp.
International Stem Cell Corporation (“ISCO” or “the Company”) is a biotechnology company focused on the development and therapeutic applications of human parthenogenetic stem cells (hpSCs), which display characteristics required for the development of therapeutic applications while avoiding the safety, economic, and ethical concerns inherent with alternative stem cell (SC) technologies.
The creation of the Company’s hpSCs involves using parthenogenesis (a form of asexual reproduction) to stimulate a human egg (oocyte) into reacting as if it has been fertilized and allowing it to start the cell division process. Since the eggs are not fertilized, no viable embryo is created, thus the Company’s technology is believed to avoid the ethical controversy associated with the destruction of a human embryo for the generation of therapeutic and research SCs.
ISCO’s core technology creates pluripotent human SCs that can be immune-matched to millions of different people. The immune-compatibility profile of hpSCs is expected to decrease the likelihood that transplanted SCs will be recognized as foreign, and thus rejected, by the recipient’s immune system.
To date, ISCO has successfully derived and characterized 15 hpSC lines, including both HLA homozygous (which may be histocompatible with significant segments of the human population) and HLA heterozygous lines (which are HLA-matched and histocompatible with the donors).
In November 2012, the Company announced the generation of what is believed to be the world’s first human clinical-grade hpSCs lines, created using ISCO’s proprietary technology and designed to meet FDA regulations. The new clinical-grade SC lines position ISCO to transition into a clinical-stage company.
The global market for therapeutic SC products was $3.8 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach nearly $4.3 billion in 2012 and $6.6 billion by 2016.
The Company focuses its therapeutic efforts on three markets where cell therapy has been clinically proven, but where there is a shortage of safe cells or tissue. These markets are believed to have a combined revenue potential of over $5 billion: (1) Parkinson’s disease (PD); (2) inherited metabolic liver disease; and (3) corneal blindness. ISCO is also using its proprietary technology to develop an SC bank, UniStemCell™, which, to the Company’s knowledge, is the industry’s first collection of non-embryonic, histocompatible human SCs available for research and commercial use.
ISCO’s preclinical research has demonstrated the Company’s ability to differentiate pure, well-characterized population of both neural cells and hepatocyte-like cells, displaying the ability to survive transplantation in rat models of the respective disease, as well as showing structural and functional capacity. In addition, ISCO has been able to derive 3D corneal constructs with properties characteristic of human corneas.
In addition, the Company produces and markets specialized cells and growth media for therapeutic research through its subsidiary Lifeline Cell Technology, and SC-based skin care products through its subsidiary Lifeline Skin Care. During 2012, the subsidiaries generated approximately $4.6 million in sales.
The Company’s management includes individuals with extensive experience in key areas including SC and pharmaceutical research, cell production and manufacturing, use of SCs in neurological applications, and international business development.
At June 30, 2013, ISCO had cash and cash equivalents of approximately $654,000. In addition, in July 2013, the Company conducted a public offering resulting in roughly $2.5 million in net proceeds.