Geron has been awarded US Patent 7,473,555, “Protocols for making hepatocytes from embryonic stem cells.”
The inventors listed on the patent are Ramkumar Mandalam, Saadia Faouzi, Isabelle Nadeau, Kristina Pfendler-Bonham, Namitha Rao, Melissa Carpenter, Lakshmi Rambhatla, and Choy-Pik Chiu.
This patent claims a newly developed strategy and options for differentiating pluripotent stem cells into cells of the hepatocyte lineage, according to its abstract. In many of the protocols, the cells are first differentiated into early germ layer cells, then into hepatocyte precursors, and then into mature cells. The cells obtained have morphological features and phenotypic markers characteristic of human adult hepatocytes. They also show evidence of cytochrome p450 enzyme activity, validating their utility for commercial applications such as drug screening, or use in the manufacture of therapeutics.