Pioneers in the arena of tissue re-growth, Dr. Stephen Badylak at Purdue University and Dr. Alan Spievack at Harvard University were both researching and using the application of a composition known as extracellular matrix (ECM). Their research involved similar, but not identical processes. Dr. Badylak's work centered on human tissue regeneration, while Dr. Spievack's interests were in the veterinary arena, specifically for regenerating tissue in cases of skin wounds and surgery.
Dr. Badylak was abruptly dismissed by Purdue University, where he had taught and researched for over 25 years. Based on similarities between their work, the Purdue Research Foundation and Cook Biotech, a licensee of Purdue, sued Dr. Badylak, Dr. Spievack and Acell, a company founded by Spievack, accusing them of patent infringement. Purdue also sought to impede Dr. Spievack's patent applications based on his work by demanding that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office add Dr. Badylak and four other Purdue researchers to Spievack's patents.