Cellular Dynamics International In-Licenses Key Patent Portfolio for Using Stem Cell-Derived Cells in Drug Testing
News Jul 15, 2009
The license, obtained from Dr. Loren Field and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), covers two important concepts for using stem cell-derived cells for drug screening. First, the Field patents cover a cell purification strategy that enables greater than 90 percent purity of any type of cells. Secondly, the Field patents cover the use of stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes for drug testing. Financial terms of the license were not disclosed.
“CDI is building an industrial pipeline and automated process enabling us to plug in different cell types and generate large quantities of purified cells,” said Chris Kendrick-Parker, chief commercial officer of CDI. “That is the primary requirement for commercial application of these cells as tools in the pharmacology and toxicity testing market. Similar to our recently announced in-licensed patent portfolio from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the IUPUI agreement ensures that we have a commercial advantage in this area, providing our customers with the comfort that they are unencumbered when they do business with us.”
Brad Fravel, business development manager at Indiana University Research & Technology Corporation said, “As a leader in the pluripotent stem cell field, CDI is a great licensing partner for IUPUI. We are confident CDI will run with this technology, exploiting it to its fullest potential.”
The license enables CDI to optimize the process of developing and purifying different cell types created from human pluripotent stem cells, including the company’s first commercially available product line, human cardiomyocytes. Under the licensed technology, pluripotent stem cells are engineered to include a selectable “marker.” As the stem cells begin to differentiate into different terminal cell types (e.g. heart, blood, neural cells, etc.), the marker allows researchers to identify and select a particular cell type (e.g. heart cells) and produce a highly purified and functional cell population.
The license also covers the use of cardiomyocytes purified through this technology for drug testing. While cardiomyocytes are the company's entrée into the market, the company has programs in place
for developing multiple cell types, and the Field patents enable the company to develop them into highly purified populations. CDI is using the Field technology in conjunction with the patents it has licensed from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (
WARF), UW-Madison's tech-transfer vehicle, to create a pipeline that mass produces cells for large-scale drug screening campaigns at pharmaceutical companies and for regenerative medicine applications.
In addition the license, which includes patents pending at the European Patent Office, also allows CDI to sublicense to other companies and institutions.
The spatial and temporal dynamics of proteins or organelles plays a crucial role in controlling various cellular processes and in development of diseases. However, acute control of activity at distinct locations within a cell cannot be achieved. A new chemo-optogenetic method enables tunable, reversible, and rapid control of activity at multiple subcellular compartments within a living cell.