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Novocell Becomes ViaCyte, Inc., as it Accelerates Pre-Clinical Development of a Stem Cell Derived Treatment for Diabetes

SAN DIEGO, May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Novocell, Inc., a preclinical stage stem cell engineering company focused on diabetes, announced today the Company's shareholders and Board of Directors approved a name change to ViaCyte, Inc.

The name ViaCyte retains the Company's identity as a leading cell therapy company, as "–cyte" is derived from the Greek "kytos," which means cell.  As the Company is moving towards the market, clear and unambiguous brand recognition is increasingly important.  With its new name, the Company has also adopted a new corporate logo.  An abstract flower emphasizes the rejuvenation possible through a stem cell-derived therapy.

The name ViaCyte was previously used by ViaCell, Inc., but their use was discontinued following acquisition of ViaCell by Perkin Elmer, Inc.  The Company has acquired all rights to the ViaCyte service marks and internet domain name addresses previously owned by ViaCell.  The Company's product developments are not related to those of ViaCell or Perkin Elmer.

The Company's new name also provides consolidation.  The Company is the result of a three-way merger in 2004 of Novocell, Inc. (Irvine, CA), CyThera, Inc. (San Diego, CA) and BresaGen, Inc. (Athens, GA).  Going forward, the Company is focused on stem cell innovations initiated in its San Diego and Athens locations, and has discontinued work on PEG-encapsulated islets that were the focus of its former Irvine location.  All of the Company's operations will use the ViaCyte name.  The Company's wholly owned subsidiary in Athens, Georgia will take the name ViaCyte Georgia.

About ViaCyte, Inc.

ViaCyte is a preclinical therapeutic company focused on diabetes.  Our therapy is based on pancreatic beta cell progenitors (Pro-Islet™) derived from human pluripotent stem cells.  These cells are implanted using a durable and retrievable encapsulation device.  Once implanted and matured, these cells secrete insulin in response to blood glucose levels. The Company's goal is long term insulin independence without immune suppression, and without hypoglycemia and other diabetes-related complications.

ViaCyte is a private company headquartered in San Diego, California, with additional operations in Athens, Georgia.  The Company is funded in part through the support of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

This news release may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the "Safe Harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

SOURCE ViaCyte, Inc.
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