NIH News Release
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
Office of the Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 11, 2002

Contact:
NIH Communications Office
(301) 496-4461

National Institutes of Health and ES Cell International Pte. Ltd
Sign International Stem Cell Research Agreement

BETHESDA, MARYLAND — The National Institutes of Health and the ES Cell International Pte. Ltd. of Singapore and Melbourne, Australia, announced today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for research use of ES Cell International's six existing stem cell lines that meet the criteria articulated by President Bush in his August 9, 2001 address. This is the federal government's first international agreement involving the distribution of human stem cell lines.

Scientists at the NIH and elsewhere will be able to access these cell lines to explore new areas of research in this emerging field of technology. In compliance with the NIH guidelines for the transfer of research materials, this agreement permits NIH scientists to freely publish the results of their research. The NIH will retain its ownership to any new intellectual property that might arise from the conduct of research in this area. In addition, the MOU governs the transfer of cell lines to individual laboratories with minimal administrative burden.

ES Cell International will retain commercial rights to its materials and will receive a fee to cover its handling and distribution expenses in supplying these cell lines. Furthermore, ES Cell International has agreed to make stem cell lines available for use by non-profit institutions that receive grants from the NIH under the same terms and conditions as those available to NIH scientists, provided these institutions enter into a separate written agreement with ES Cell International.

"We are very pleased with this agreement for our scientists who are interested in pursuing research on human embryonic stem cells. It will allow science to move forward freely in an important and promising field. The cell lines being offered are genetically diverse and as such will expand opportunities for researchers to explore important differences among cell lines," said Ruth Kirschstein, M.D., Acting NIH Director.

"This agreement is of major importance to ES Cell International. It will ensure that we are able to distribute our cell lines widely via the NIH's considerable network of stem cell researchers while maintaining our primary focus, which is on the development of therapeutic products," said Robert Klupacs, CEO of ES Cell International. "NIH researchers and those in their collaborative networks are among the best in the world and all of us in the field will benefit from their input. We look forward to distributing our cells and providing training to researchers where required."

The MOU is available on the NIH web site at: http://www.nih.gov/news/stemcell/ESIMOU.pdf

ES Cell International is a regenerative medicine company focusing on developing therapeutic products from human embryonic stem (hES) cells. ES Cell International was incorporated in Singapore in July 2000. Its corporate headquarters, together with a dedicated research and production facility, are housed within a leading Australian Medical Research Precinct. ES Cell International funds research collaborations with the Monash Institute of Reproduction and Development (Australia), the National University of Singapore (Singapore), Hadassah Medical Organisation (Israel), and the Hubrecht Laboratory (the Netherlands).

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the premier federal agency for biomedical research.