MADISON, Wis. (AP) The University of Wisconsin”s patent agency and a California company have settled a federal lawsuit over human embryonic stem cell technology, the groups said yesterday.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation filed the lawsuit in August against Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, Calif., to prevent Geron from interfering with the foundation”s ability to contract with other firms to further develop stem cell technology.

“All of these things taken together will move the science forward faster and bring us closer to the treatments and cures that are the promise of stem cells,” foundation spokesman Andrew Cohn said.

In the settlement, the groups agreed on a new license which gives Geron exclusive rights to develop products from three of the six cell types developed by University of Wisconsin researchers. Geron also has nonexclusive rights to the other three cell types.

David Greenwood, Geron”s senior vice president and head of corporate development, said working with the foundation to develop a new agreement on the stem cell types made sense since they first agreed to a license in 1999.

“We”ve learned a lot in working with the cells in the three years and we have sorted through very carefully what we want our business strategies to be in the field,” Greenwood said. “We absolutely want to encourage other people to invest.”

Cohn said the foundation could reach licensing agreements within months with other companies that want to do research using its stem cell types.

Geron and the foundation also have agreed to grant research rights for existing cell patents and patent filings to academic and governmental researchers without royalties or fees. Other companies can form collaborations with Geron or buy licenses to Geron”s intellectual property.

Embryonic stem cells are the basic building blocks of the body from which the organs and other cells develop. Scientists hope to use them someday to treat Parkinson”s, Alzheimer”s and other diseases.

Human embryonic stem cells were first isolated and grown at the University of Wisconsin by scientist James Thomson in 1998.

Geron financed much of the early research.

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