Life Technologies links up with Harvard in stem cell deal

Transaction includes collaborative research agreement and license for developing a panel of characterization assays

Kelsey Kaustinen
CARLSBAD, Calif.—Life Technologies Corporation and HarvardUniversity have announced the signing of a collaborative research agreement andrelated license. Under the agreement, Life Technologies has acquired exclusiverights for the development of a panel of characterization assays for the rapidevaluation of human pluripotent stem cells to determine their usefulness forvarious discovery and translational research applications.
 
The methods that exist currently for determining inducedpluripotent stem cells' potential for differentiating into any cell type arelabor-intensive and costly, as well as being prone towards ambiguous results.The panel that results from this agreement will be offered on LifeTechnologies' semiconductor sequencing and PCR-based genetic analysisplatforms, and will help to address the existing issues in evaluatingpluripotency.
 
 
"As iPS cell research grows in scale and moves closerto the clinic, investigators are increasingly in need of characterizationstandards that enable them to make informed decisions about the quality oftheir cells," Chris Armstrong, Ph.D., general manager and vice presidentof Primary and Stem Cell Systems at Life Technologies, said in a press release."Our investment in this important work developed at Harvard Universitysupports our sustained commitment to provide our customers with the mostinnovative tools for the iPS cell workflow."
 
Introducing standardization to the process of characterizinginduced pluripotent stem cells will enable faster identification of the cellslines with the most potential, speeding the process and decreasing the time andresources lost on ineffective lines.
 
 
The panel of assays was developed by Alex Meissner, Ph.D.,associate professor in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology atHarvard University, and is undergoing further study and validation incollaboration with Life Technologies.
 
"Stem cell research and genomics have rapidly advancedin parallel over the past few years," said Meissner in a press release. "Combiningboth fields of study is enabling more effective and standardized ways ofcharacterizing pluripotent cells and, therefore, greatly improving efficiencyand the application of iPS cells."
 
Life Technologies' own work in the field of stem cells is extensive.The California-based company offers a variety of stem cells types and relatedproducts, including and for such types as embryonic, induced pluripotent,mesenchymal, neural and hematopoeitic stem cells. Its product offerings aregeared toward applications such as stem cell analysis, culture,differentiation, engineering, reprogramming and therapy research.
 
 
BioInformatics LLC, an Arlington, Va.-based company thatprovides custom market research for the life-science industry, estimates theglobal stem cell characterization market at $30 million per year, with theoverall market for stem cell research tools tipping the scales at roughly $1billion.
 
 
 
 
 
SOURCE: Life Technologies press release

Kelsey Kaustinen

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