Expanded Potential Stem Cell (EPSC) Technology


This invention is about the generation of mammalian expanded potential stem cells (EPSCs) with totipotency features. EPSCs possessed developmental potency for all embryonic and extra-embryonic cell lineages. EPSCs, which express key pluripotency genes, are genetically stable, permit genome editing, and can differentiate to derivatives of the three germ layers in chimeras and produce primordial germ cell-like cells in vitro.

  • Expanded Potential Stem Cell (EPSC) Technology  0
  • Expanded Potential Stem Cell (EPSC) Technology  1
Commercialisation opportunities
Licensing, collaboration and investment
Problem addressed

There is a lack of bona fide pluripotent stem cells from important animal species, in particular large farm animals. There is a need for improved human pluripotent stem cells for studying human development and biology, and for regenerative medicine. Embryonic Stem cells (ESC) may make all types of cells in the body, however they are not able to produce placental cells, and therefore cannot generate a whole animal.

  • The EPSC is so far the most potent, stable, off-the-shelf and multipurpose stem cell type
  • EPSCs possess developmental potency for all embryonic and extra-embryonic cell lineages
Key impact
  • New stem cell type, robust in culture and enabling genome-editing
  • EPSCs can differentiate to all cell types, including germ cells and placenta trophoblasts
  • EPSCs can be established by reprogramming somatic cells
  • Successfully established from multiple animal species, including mouse, human, pig, rabbit, horse, etc.
  • Animal cloning
  • Regenerative medicine and organ transplantation
  • Cell models for studying human diseases and drug screening
  • Others, including cosmetics, vaccine development, artifical meat, etc.


  • EP Application No. 20781782.6
  • US Application No. 17/435,943
  • Japan Application No. 2021-558867
  • PRC Application No. 202080036558.9
The University of Hong Kong (HKU)

Founded in 1911, The University of Hong Kong (HKU) is the first and oldest institution of higher education in Hong Kong. For over a century, the University has dedicated itself to creating knowledge, providing education, and serving society. Today, HKU has an established worldwide reputation for being a research-led comprehensive University with ten Faculties and a strong commitment to intellectual freedom, liberty and diversity. HKU has a proud record of academic recognition in researches through honours and awards received from both local and international bodies.