DefiniGEN Ltd has announced that it has strengthened its IP portfolio with a licence for cutting edge lung stem cell technology from the University of Cambridge. The technology will be used by DefiniGEN to develop new, optimized cell products and services for drug discovery and the study of lung diseases, including cystic fibrosis.
The technology, licensed to DefiniGEN by Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialization arm of the University of Cambridge uses induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, to recreate embryonic lung development in the lab by activating a process known as gastrulation, in which the cells form distinct layers, from which the lung ‘grows’.
Uniquely, the technology enables these cells to develop further, into distal airway tissue. The distal airway is the part of the lung responsible for gas exchange and is often implicated in disease, such as cystic fibrosis, some forms of lung cancer and emphysema.
Commenting on the announcement, Dr Marcus Yeo, CEO of DefiniGEN, said: “This license enables us to use stem cells to grow highly functional lung cells on an industrial-scale for the first time. These cell products can then help researchers to elucidate key mechanisms of disease and enable pharmaceutical companies to screen for potential drugs in a reproducible and cost-effective way.”
DefiniGEN is focused on serving the growing need in the pharmaceutical industry for more accurate predictions of efficacy and toxicity in drug candidates ahead of clinical trials. Its platform technology OptiDIFF is a revolutionary stem cell production platform for the generation of high-functionality cell types including, liver, pancreas and lung cells.
These cells can be used as predictive in vitro models to support the development of safer and more effective treatments for patients. Since its foundation in April 2012 DefiniGEN has moved rapidly into commercializing its products and services in both the academic research and pharmaceutical sectors on an international basis.