Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), has announced it has strengthened its intellectual property (IP) portfolio by licensing patented definitive endoderm differentiation technology from ViaCyte, Inc., a stem cell company focused on diabetes therapy. CDI will apply this patented methodology in the development and production of iCell® Hepatocytes, iPSC-derived liver cells.
ViaCyte’s proprietary technology covers cell cultures containing specific amounts of definitive endoderm. Definitive endoderm gives rise to organs and tissues such as the liver, pancreas, lung, intestine, thymus and thyroid. Separately, CDI has agreed to supply iPSC lines to ViaCyte.
Nick Seay, Chief Technology Officer of CDI, acknowledged the importance of this technology to CDI’s IP portfolio. “ViaCyte has developed and filed patents on useful methodologies for differentiating into definitive endoderm, which is the normal intermediate in the subsequent manufacturing of hepatocytes. The right to incorporate this technology into our industrial pipeline assures our pharmaceutical customers that they will receive hepatocytes in the quantity, quality and purity that they require. In addition, this brings us a step closer toward developing hepatocyte line extensions, including panels with multiple iPSC starting materials. This step enables our customers to compare responses of tissue cells based on genetic diversity.”
“We are pleased to strike this license agreement with CDI,” said John West , Chief Executive Officer of ViaCyte. “Our proprietary technology will facilitate the production of their iPSC-derived hepatocytes. We also look forward to using CDI’s human iPSC-derived cells in the generation of pancreatic beta cells, the cells that make insulin, as our research efforts continue in our work on developing stem cell therapies for diabetes treatment.”
“This licensing agreement is an important achievement for CDI as we move towards expanding our product line to include hepatocytes,” added Chris Parker, Chief Commercial Officer of CDI. “The availability of these liver cells will provide pharmaceutical companies with a reliable source of well-characterized, highly reproducible and readily available human hepatocytes for preclinical drug discovery, hepatotoxicity testing, and disease research.”