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Stem-cell therapy company wracked by contract dispute

A company that runs embryonic stem-cell therapy trials is facing financial difficulties. The firm, Advanced Cell Technology, is conducting cutting-edge research about the safety and therapeutic options available through such treatments. However, the company is also facing a series of financial challenges, including at least one contract dispute, which could prevent researchers from realizing the potential of their advances.

Massachusetts firm ACT is being sued for breach of contract by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. That organization manages patents and licensing agreements for the University of Wisconsin and also manages several critical stem-cell patents. ACT had struck a licensing deal with that group about six years ago. The breach of contract suit was filed in early January, and little information has been released about that proceeding.

This is not the only problem affecting the company at this time. ACT has been narrowly avoiding bankruptcy for years. Quarterly statements indicate that the company may not have enough money to make it to the end of 2014. Administrators say they are exploring a variety of options to ensure business solvency for the future. The company has been accused of illegally selling huge amounts of stock, and a prior chief executive officer has stepped down just a few days ago. The financial problems constitute a "big hit" to the company's bottom line, according to one venture capitalist.

Contract disputes can easily unravel years of business work. Business owners who are facing contract disputes and litigation may benefit from consulting a qualified Massachusetts business and commercial law attorney. These professionals can help business owners learn more about their legal rights in court, providing them with the information they need to manage ongoing litigation.

Source: NATURE, "Stem-cell company in crisis" Heidi Ledford, Jan. 25, 2014

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