Cellular Dynamics stikes agreement with AstraZeneca to use iPSC-derived human cells in drug discovery research

This deal will be the third time that Cellular Dynamics has entered into a deal to create a Center of Excellence with a global pharma company

Jeffrey Bouley
MADISON,Wis.—Cellular Dynamics International Inc. (CDI) recently announced a Center of Excellence agreement with AstraZeneca toaccelerate the pace of drug discovery through the use of human inducedpluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines and tissue cells.
 
As CDI notes, "
iPSCtechnology, based on reprogramming adult cells from a simple bloodsample or a skin biopsy to a pluripotent stem cell state, shows promisein delivering robust human cell models of high utility in drug discoveryand without the ethical concerns linked to the use of human embryonicstem cells, and 
SteveRees, vice president of Screening Sciences & Sample Management, Discovery Sciencesat AstraZeneca, adds that "This agreement with Cellular Dynamics enablesAstraZeneca to access world-leading expertise in stem cell technology sothat we can better test potential new medicines for safety andefficacy."
 
Underthe terms of the Center of Excellence agreement, AstraZeneca will takeadvantage of commercially available iCell products and CDI's recentlylaunched MyCell Products for iPSC reprogramming and differentiation,and the two parties will collaborate on the development of one or morenovel cell types. AstraZeneca will purchase CDI's commerciallyavailable iCell products, including iCell Cardiomyocytes, iCell Neurons,iCell Endothelial Cells, and iCell Hepatocytes, for use in theirsafety, discovery, and regenerative medicine programs. Furthermore,AstraZeneca will rely on CDI's novel MyCell Products to geneticallyengineer and manufacture cells from specific patient groups for use asin-vitro disease models.
 
In addition, CDI will work in partnership withAstraZeneca toward development of one or more new iPSC-derived cell types toenable novel discovery screening applications. Financial terms of theagreement, however, remain undisclosed. 

"This is the third Centerof Excellence agreement we have entered into with a global pharmacompany, and these partnerships show customer recognition thatleveraging CDI's technical expertise and resources can help acceleratetheir discoveries," said BobPalay, CEO of CDI. "We are excited that AstraZeneca shares our visionthat iPSC technology can be transformative. The Center of Excellenceagreements show CDI's leadership in developing best practices to employhuman iPSCs to advance healthcare discoveries."
 
 
To this, CDI's chief commercial officer, ChrisParker, added, "Increasinglycustomers are recognizing CDI's focus and investment on industrializingthe manufacture of iPSC-derived cells.  Utilizing these standardizedcellular tools enables customers like AstraZeneca to concentrate ondeveloping therapies rather than manufacturing cell types." 

SOURCE: CDI/AstraZeneca news release
 
 

Jeffrey Bouley

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