Embryonic Stem Cell Company Burdened With Debt

The embryonic stem cell company, Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), of Worcester, Massachusetts, has announced that it plans to vacate its Charleston facility and it also will not renew its lease on a California research center. The announcement comes as part of the company’s plan to eliminate $5 to $6 million from its annual operating budget, in the face of escalating debt.

According William Caldwell IV, CEO, “Near-term funding continues to be our major challenge. The company plans to spend its remaining cash on the most advanced clinical programs.” Other executives in the life sciences who were interviewed attribute ACT’s financial troubles to inflated and unsubstantiated claims regarding embryonic stem cells, which included early reports of cloned human embryos and the embryos of endangered species which later proved to be unverifiable.

In an S.E.C. filing in July of this year, ACT reported $1 million in assets and $17 million in liabilities. According to a company representative, ACT attributes its own financial problems to a heavy dependence on “emerging and sometimes unproven technologies” within an “ethically sensitive and controversial” broader context.

Last month, ACT received $250,000 in initial payment for a licensing agreement with Embryome Sciences, a subsidiary of BioTime, Inc, currently directed by Michael West who was formerly the CEO of ACT.

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