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Start Licensing, Inc. Further Strengthens Position in Cloning Industry With New Patents

New Patents Announced for Methods of Cloning Livestock From Differentiated Donor Cells

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Start Licensing, Inc. (Start) announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted U.S. Patent Nos. 7,304,204 and 7,307,198 covering methods of cloning ungulate animals, fetuses and embryos using differentiated cells. These two patents are part of a portfolio of patents and patent applications owned by Roslin Institute that are directed to foundational somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) cloning technology developed at Roslin Institute for the cloning of Dolly the sheep. This portfolio is exclusively licensed to Start for all non-human animal cloning applications.

In addition, the Patent Office has also recently issued notices of allowance for related patent applications in the portfolio, including U.S. Patent Application Nos. 09/650,194 and U.S. 09/989,126 directed to methods of cloning ungulate animals, fetuses and embryos, and of producing mammalian inner cell mass cells. The allowance of these two applications is a direct result of patent interference proceedings initiated at the Patent Office between the 09/650,194 and 09/989,126 applications and U.S. Patents 5,945,577 and 6,234,970, owned by the University of Massachusetts and exclusively licensed to Advanced Cell Technology. A patent interference is a proceeding conducted by the Patent Office when two or more parties claim the same invention in patent filings. Under U.S. law, only the party that is first to invent a new technology is entitled to a patent. The interference proceedings were decided in favor of the 09/650,194 and 09/989,126 applications and judgment was entered against the 5,945,577 and 6,234,970 patents.

Other patents in the portfolio include recently granted U.S. Patent No. 7,232,938 directed to method of cloning ungulates through fusion or microinjection of a quiescent ungulate donor cell. Metabolic changes indicative of cell quiescence include, among other things, the presence of condensed chromatin.

"These patents and allowed applications further strengthen our animal cloning patent position," said Jonathan Thatcher, Chairman of Start Licensing. "The technology covered by the Roslin patents and patent applications has been widely adopted and has increasingly important commercial applications for a wide variety of industries, including agriculture and healthcare. It has been used to clone a broad range of species including cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, horses, mice, rats, rabbits, cats and dogs."

About Start Licensing

Start is a joint venture of Geron Corporation (NASDAQ: GERN) and Exeter Life Sciences, Inc. Start manages and licenses a broad portfolio of intellectual property rights related to animal reproductive technologies, including foundational nuclear transfer cloning technology developed at the Roslin Institute for the cloning of Dolly the sheep. Start's licensees are on the cutting edge of research and product development in food production, medical applications and many other fields.

For more information, call Natalie Garrett, Start Licensing/Turner Strategies, 202-466-9633

SOURCE Start Licensing, Inc.
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