Astrazeneca and Cellartis Extend Collaboration to Develop Drug Safety Testing Using Stem Cells
News Feb 17, 2009
AstraZeneca and Cellartis AB announced have signed an extension to their ongoing scientific collaboration to develop improved safety screening systems based on human embryonic stem cell derived hepatocytes and cardiomyocytes for target and lead validation, compound screening, drug metabolism studies, and safety assessment.
The deal builds on Cellartis AB’s expertise as a premier provider of hESC derived products and technologies. The terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.
The announcement extends a two-year agreement signed by the companies in July 2006 to explore whether cells taken from established human embryonic stem cell lines could be differentiated into functioning human hepatocytes and myocyctes.
With further improvements in differentiation technologies, scientists will be able to better predict drug metabolism and potential liver and cardiac adverse side effects in humans much earlier in the drug discovery process, thus streamlining the drug development process and bringing safer medicines to the patient.
"Our collaboration with AstraZeneca now enters an exciting phase and we are delighted to announce its extension," said Mats Lundwall, Cellartis CEO. "We continue to validate our reputation as a leading player in the hESC arena through such deals. Given AstraZeneca’s position as a leading pharmaceutical company, we are rightly optimistic and enthusiastic about the continued development of hESC as a key technology of choice across a range of R&D applications."
“If we can successfully and reliably create a consistent supply of differentiated embryonic stem cells, we will be able to more accurately detect side effects for new drugs while still in the discovery process,” said Jan Lundberg, Executive Vice President of Discovery for AstraZeneca. “Such a breakthrough could improve R&D productivity by reducing attrition rates and ultimately lead to safer medicines for patients. While significant scientific hurdles remain, we are making good progress and gaining valuable experience.”