CDI Raises $30 Million to Expand its Product Line of Human Stem Cells and Tissue Cells
Product News Apr 13, 2011
Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. (CDI), has closed on a $30 million private equity round. This recent Series B Preferred Stock financing was led by an entity affiliated with Tactics II Stem Cell Ventures, which along with its affiliates led CDI’s prior capital raises.
Other investors in this financing round include Sam Zell’s Equity Group Investments LLC, Sixth Floor Investors LP and G Force Investments LLC. CDI has raised a total of $100 million since 2004.
This financing enables the company to launch new iCell® iPSC lines as well as iCell Endothelial Cells, iCell Neurons, and iCell Hepatocytes lines for biomedical and pharmaceutical drug development and safety research, as well as continue to increase production capacity for its iCell Cardiomyocytes. CDI also plans to continue to rapidly expand its commercial organization to meet the growing demand for these iPSC-based products.
CDI’s market-leading production process, which is unique in the industry, can produce large quantities of human tissue cells while maintaining their purity, quality and consistency. The company’s iCell Cardiomyocytes product line is the first commercial product based on stem cells grown from adult tissue using CDI’s iPSC technology developed by founder James A. Thomson.
CDI grows its fully pluripotent stem cell lines from adult human donor blood samples. The company’s iPSC technology coaxes the blood cells to turn back their developmental clock and become iPSCs, which then can be directed to develop into any of the human body’s 200+ cell types.
Thomson, CDI Chief Scientific Officer and recent winner of the prestigious Albany Medical Award and King Faisal Award, commented, “Human pluripotent stem cells offer a unique window into human health and biology. I founded CDI based on my desire to make stem cells and human tissue cells widely available in the quantity, quality and purity to enable researchers around the world to accelerate their discoveries in human health and biological research. I am gratified that CDI has been able to secure funding to make this vision a reality.”
“CDI continues to maintain its leadership with the highest-level of funding in this new industry,” said Robert Palay, the company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We have strong demand from pharmaceutical companies for our fully functional, live human cells derived from iPSCs, because the high quantity, quality and purity of our cells result in more accurate preclinical drug testing and effective research.”
“Prior to our iCell product introduction, our pharmaceutical and research customers could test new drugs and conduct research only on human tissue cells from cadavers, cells derived from tumors or animal cells,” said Chris Parker, Chief Commercial Officer of CDI. “None of these cell models accurately mirrors what happens in a live human body. iCell products improve the efficiency and effectiveness of drug discovery and safety testing by enabling in vitro clinical trials on fully functional human cells before drugs are tested on humans.”
Palay concluded, “CDI remains committed to offer the broadest array of iPSC-based products in the purest forms and largest quantities available in the market, to allow our customers to speed their discovery of safer more effective drugs and to make advances in other scientific research. The support of our investors and the success of our most recent financing will help us deliver on this commitment.”
Leonard Loventhal, an officer of Sixth Floor Investors and a member of CDI’s Board of Directors, commented, “CDI has uniquely built industrial expertise in high-volume, high-quality manufacturing of human iPS cell-derived tissue products. When combined with their strong intellectual property position, full freedom to operate, and the capital resources of this investor consortium, CDI is the only company positioned to provide its pharmaceutical customers with iPSC-derived products immediately useful in drug discovery and safety testing.”
“We’ve enjoyed working with CDI’s management team again,” said Mathew Zell, Managing Director of Equity Group Investments LLC. “We are impressed with the exciting progress at CDI and are looking forward to the launch of many important, new products.”
“We are enthused that Wisconsin has become recognized as a hub for biotechnology and stem cell research,” continued Brian Stark, an investor in G Force Investments LLC. “We believe that the combination of CDI’s products, technology and team should result in substantial value creation.”