Stem Cell Sciences to open California office

Share this article

STEM Cell Sciences, the ambitious Edinburgh biotech company, is expanding into the United States as it moves to become a genuine global player.

Already having operations in Australia and an associate company in Japan, the company is in the advanced stages of planning for a Californian sales office to tap into a potentially huge market.

Chief executive Peter Mountford said the company would also seek an academic partner in the US - mirroring its other operations, all linked to universities - and establish an automated cell-production facility in Cambridge to translate current bench-top cell production methods into a process suited to contract cell supply.

The company was spun out from the University of Edinburgh in 1994 to commercialise the work of Mountford and Professor Austin Smith.

In a cutting-edge field, SCS has developed its business model and intellectual property around embryonic and tissue-specific stem cells and aims to tap into the potential the science holds in drug discovery and cell-based therapies. In an expanding product programme it is involved in preclinical research to develop cells for treating central nervous system diseases such as Parkinson's disease.

In the first full-year results since the company floated in July last year, SCS yesterday posted a loss of 2.38m, almost 1m more than in 2004, as operations expanded.

Turnover increased to 847,000, including the first income from the sale of its media products, which enable the growth of stem cells for research and drug discovery, the first commercially available. The company raised 6m when it floated, and finished the year with net cash of 5.2m. Mountford said the company was meeting or exceeding all of its targets. The company plans to be profitable by 2009.

The results prompted little interest on the stock market, with no shares traded yesterday. They are currently at 67p, having hit 100p when the firm floated last July.