NIH News Release
Office of the Director

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

NIH Communications Office
(301) 496-4461

National Institutes of Health and BresaGen, Inc.
Sign U.S./Australian Stem Cell Research Agreement

BETHESDA, MARYLAND — The National Institutes of Health and BresaGen, Inc. of Adelaide, Australia and Athens, Georgia, announced today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for research use of BresaGen's four 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 stem cell agreement with an international company that has a U.S. based subsidiary.

Scientists at 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.

BresaGen, Inc. 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, BresaGen, Inc. 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 BresaGen, Inc.

"We are very pleased with this arrangement for our scientists who are interested in pursuing research on human embryonic stem cells. This agreement will allow scientists to maximize their research capabilities. We welcome these collaborative efforts because they provide the framework for future progress in this important scientific area," said Ruth Kirschstein, M.D., Acting NIH Director.

"We see this as an important agreement for BresaGen. It allows us to distribute our cell lines widely within the stem cell research community and build valuable relationships with researchers who are pioneering this exciting new field of medical endeavour. We are confident that these research relationships will, in the future, lead to commercial opportunities and products for BresaGen to bring to market, " said John Smeaton, President & CEO of BresaGen, Inc.

The MOU is available on the NIH web site at:

BresaGen, Ltd. is an Australian biotechnology company committed to the discovery and commercial development of innovative bio-therapies. During two decades of experience, the company has been involved in reproductive and developmental biology and in the manufacture of recombinant protein pharmaceuticals. Its U.S. subsidiary, BresaGen, Inc. is located in Athens, Georgia.

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.