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StemCells, Inc. Strengthens Patent Position in Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Technology Platforms

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Palo Alto, CA -- StemCells, Inc. (Nasdaq: STEM) announced today that it has received a Notice of Allowance and a Notice of Issuance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for two patents claiming technologies for the establishment and maintenance of cell pluripotency (the ability to become any cell in the body, which is the defining attribute of embryonic stem cells), including the reprogramming of cells to create pluripotent stem cells. These patents strengthen the Company’s intellectual property position in both the induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell and embryonic stem (ES) cell fields, and reflect the value that StemCells continues to derive from its April 2009 acquisition of the operating business of Stem Cell Sciences Plc.

The issued patent, U.S. Patent Number 7,595,193, "Propagation and/or Derivation of Embryonic Stem Cells," claims a cell-free culture medium containing MEK inhibitors (small molecule compounds), which is applicable to the establishment and maintenance of cell pluripotency. This technology can be used to create and maintain ES cell lines, as well as to reprogram somatic cells (such as adult skin cells) to derive iPS cells.

The allowed patent, U.S. Patent Application Number 10/502,972, "Pluripotency Determining Factor and Uses Thereof," covers the use of the Nanog gene in maintaining human and mouse ES cells in a pluripotent state. A related U.S. application from this same patent family claims the use of the Nanog gene in cell reprogramming. The Nanog gene codes for a protein which plays a key role in the ability of ES cells to multiply while remaining pluripotent, and can also be used to reprogram somatic cells into a fully pluripotent state.

The Company owns or has exclusive rights to approximately 55 issued or allowed U.S. patents and approximately 200 granted or allowed non-U.S. patents. Many of the Company’s core patents, including U.S. Patent Numbers 5,750,376, 5,851,832, 5,968,829, 7,101,709, 7,153,686, and 7,361,505, include claims covering composition of matter and methods for the isolation, expansion, genetic manipulation, and use of neural stem and progenitor cells for both therapeutic use and non-therapeutic applications such as drug discovery and screening.

About StemCells, Inc.

StemCells, Inc. is focused on the development and commercialization of cell-based technologies. In its cellular medicine programs, StemCells is targeting diseases of the central nervous system and liver. StemCells’ lead product candidate, HuCNS-SC® cells (purified human neural stem cells), is in clinical development for the treatment of two fatal neurodegenerative disorders that primarily affect young children. StemCells also markets specialty cell culture media products under the brand SC Proven®, and is developing its cell-based technologies for use in drug screening and drug development. Further information about StemCells is available at

Apart from statements of historical fact, the text of this press release constitutes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and is subject to the safe harbors created therein. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the potential for the Company’s therapies to treat neurodegenerative diseases, the potential for its cell-based therapeutics to treat other diseases or disorders, and the future business operations of the Company, including its ability to conduct clinical trials as well as its other research and product development efforts. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this news release. The Company does not undertake to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that occur after the date hereof. Such statements reflect management’s current views and are based on certain assumptions that may or may not ultimately prove valid. The Company’s actual results may vary materially from those contemplated in such forward-looking statements due to risks and uncertainties to which the Company is subject regarding the Company’s ability to obtain the increased capital resources needed to continue its current operations and to conduct the research, preclinical development and clinical trials necessary for regulatory approvals and continued patent prosecution efforts; uncertainty regarding the validity and enforceability of the Company’s existing patents, which may be questioned or contested through requests for reexamination and other legal proceedings; and other factors that are described under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008, and in its subsequent reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K.

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