Great strides have been made in the last decade in understanding how single cells can become fully developed individuals. The same mechanisms that govern embryonic development appear to be required in adults for normal growth, regeneration and repair. As a result, an understanding of the role of specific genes in governing embryonic development of various tissues should have utility in developing treatments of various disorders where cell repopulation would be of therapeutic benefit.

Ontogeny Inc. believes that many diseases of the body's organ systems can be addressed using cell differentiation approaches to form or regenerate tissue. But two conditions must be met for a specific differentiation step to occur: an inducing molecule - the molecular signal that carries messages to cells - must be present, and the differentiating cell must be competent to receive and act upon the signal. Until recently, little was understood about how induction molecules, with only five families of molecules identified to date, could be isolated and ultimately employed for therapeutic use.