GE Healthcare Life Sciences, CDI announce license agreement

Deal to focus on development, manufacture and sale of cellular assays and models from iPS cells

Kelsey Kaustinen
CHALFONT ST. GILES, United Kingdom—GE Healthcare LifeSciences, a business unit of GE Healthcare, and Cellular Dynamics Internationalhave announced a license agreement. Per the terms of the agreement, GEHealthcare has licensed Cellular Dynamics to develop, manufacture and sellcellular assays and models derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cellsfor use in drug discovery and toxicity screening. Financial terms for theagreement were not released.
 
"We believe it is important that stem cell-based assays areavailable to researchers so that progress can be made in drug discovery;clarity and freedom to operate is fundamental to advancing the use of suchassays. Our recently extended agreement with Geron provided the foundation forthe type of agreement we are announcing today," Dr. Amr Abid, general managerof Cell Technologies at GE Healthcare Life Sciences, said in a statement. "GEHealthcare believes that such agreements are the next step to enabling thewider industry to benefit from the use of this key intellectual propertywithout violating patent rights. We are delighted that Cellular DynamicsInternational is the first company to work with us to bring greater clarity tothe marketplace."
 
 
Cellular Dynamics is a leading developer, manufacturer andvendor of human iPS cell lines and tissue cells. Its current offering includesiCell Cardiomyocytes, iCell Neurons (brain cells), iCell Endothelial Cells(blood vessel cells) and iCell Hepatocytes (liver cells), as well as its MyCellServices, a custom cell manufacturing service that produces stem cells orterminal cells from any individual, including those with diseases of interest.
 
 
"CDI's mission is to provide human cell-based research anddrug discovery tools that enhance scientists' ability to better understandhuman biology, increase efficiency of the discovery process and ultimatelyimprove human healthcare," Bob Palay, CEO of Cellular Dynamics International,said in a press release. "The IP space surrounding stem cell technology iscomplex. With the licensing of the GE-Geron intellectual property portfolio,CDI now has more than 700 licensed or owned patents and patent applications. Wehave built our IP portfolio intending to ensure broad freedom to operate and tooffer customers products that they can use with confidence and the knowledgethat their subsequent discoveries are protected by this IP portfolio."
 
 
The agreement is the latest of several ventures in the stemcell space for both companies. GE Healthcare launched its Cytiva cardiomyocytesin 2010, stem cell-based assays that aid in determining the toxicity of drugcandidates in the earlier stages of drug discovery. More recently, GEHealthcare has announced the expansion of its license with Menlo Park,Calif.-based Geron, a biopharmaceutical company developing first-in-classcancer therapeutics. The expansion allows GE Healthcare to obtain exclusiveglobal rights to Geron's intellectual property and know-how for developing andselling cellular assays derived from iPS cells.
 
For its part, Cellular Dynamics announced in late Octoberthat the National Institutes of Health Center for Regenerative Medicine(NIH-CRM) had awarded it a contract to provide iPS cell lines and terminallydifferentiated tissue cells from normal or specified patient populations. Thethree-year agreement could be worth up to $7 million, and is the third contractCellular Dynamics has been awarded from NIH-CRM, with the first two originatingin 2011.

Kelsey Kaustinen

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