CAMBRIDGE, U.K.—DefiniGEN Ltd., a leading provider of stem cell products and services, has joined the European Bank for induced pluripotent stem cells (EBiSC) consortium, an initiative that is newly formed with support from the Innovative Medicines Initiative and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations. The EBiSC iPS cell bank will serve as a central facility for the storage and distribution of human iPS cells for use by researchers in industry and academia. DefiniGEN’s role in the consortium will be to validate EBiSC iPS cell lines by generating liver hepatocyte cells for toxicology, disease modeling and regenerative medicine applications.
“We are delighted to be a part of this groundbreaking consortium, which will provide a crucial platform resource to enable the realization of the full potential of iPS technology,” Dr. Marcus Yeo, CEO of DefiniGEN, said in a press release.
The EBiSC bank, which is coordinated by Pfizer Ltd. in Cambridge and managed by Roslin Cells Ltd. in Edinburgh, hopes to become the “go-to” resource in Europe for high-quality, research-grade human iPS cells. This initiative, worth 35 million euros, will support the build of a robust, reliable supply chain from the generation of customized cells lines, as well as the specification to internationally accepted quality criteria and their distribution to qualified users.
“The consortium includes many of Europe’s leading stem cell scientists and experts in related fields such as data management, law and social sciences. This breadth of expertise will allow EBiSC to establish rigorous methods to ensure that the cells distributed to researchers meet internationally recognized standards and also that their use is consistent with the consent of the tissue donor and the national laws of the country in which the iPS cells were originally generated,” said Aidan Courtney, CEO of Roslin Cells. “We will keep abreast of the fast-moving progress in the field of how to make these cells and also provide an online resource to pool the results of research undertaken with the catalogue items that we distribute. In this way, EBiSC will create an ever-increasing wealth of iPS cells, data and knowledge, which will help advancing drug development and health research.”
There are currently 26 partners in the consortium, including companies such as Novo Nordisk, AstraZeneca and H. Lundbeck A/S, members of academia such as the University of Edinburgh and University College London and research organizations such as the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (Spanish Stem Cell Bank), among others.
“We are excited to be a part of this pre-competitive collaboration to build a sustainable repository of high-quality human iPS cell lines. For many areas of research in academia and in industry, understanding the biological basis of disease heterogeneity is the next horizon. A bank of well-characterized iPS lines with strong relevance to the entire research community will help us all in our mission to bring therapies to patients,” commented Ruth McKernan, chief science officer of Pfizer’s Neusentis research unit.
SOURCE: DefiniGEN press release