NEWARK, Calif., March 20, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- StemCells, Inc. (Nasdaq:STEM) today announced that it has acquired from NsGene A/S, a privately held Danish biotechnology company, a patent family claiming GFAP+ Nestin+ cells, including U.S. Patent Nos. 6,878,543 and 7,303,912 and European patent application 00973148. GFAP and Nestin are proteins that are co-expressed by certain key cells found in the human central nervous system. Each patent claims a cell culture of undifferentiated GFAP+ Nestin+ cells wherein one or more cells have the capacity to differentiate into neurons and glia as do many neural stem and progenitor cells described by researchers. The invention claimed by the patents resulted from research conducted at NsGene while in pursuit of cell-based treatments for Parkinson's disease. The terms of the patents extend into 2020 and 2021. "We are pleased to expand our neural cell patent portfolio with the acquisition of this intellectual property," said Martin McGlynn, President and Chief Executive Officer of StemCells, Inc. "As worldwide interest in human cells increases, we continue to look for opportunities to broaden the reach of our intellectual property portfolio, which already contains many of the seminal patents in the field of human neural stem cell research." The Company's patent portfolio consists of approximately 45 issued U.S. patents, 250 issued foreign patents and active patent prosecution in over 15 distinct patent families claiming different types of stem and progenitor cells, cell culture media, stem cell research tools and techniques, and similar technologies. The Company's neural stem and progenitor cell patents broadly cover (i) compositions of matter, (ii) methods of manufacture (isolation, proliferation, purification, genetic modification, etc.), and (iii) methods of use, including the use of these cells both as therapeutics and as tools for drug screening and testing, and cover human neural stem cells irrespective of whether they were derived from embryonic, juvenile or adult tissue, or derived using presently known induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) technologies.