Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. (CDI) has announced an agreement with iPS Academia Japan, Inc., who will distribute CDI’s iCell® Cardiomyocytes, the first commercially available product based on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), in Japan.
This distribution agreement brings the vision of the two pioneers of iPSC technology, Dr. James Thomson and Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, a step closer to making the technology widely available to researchers worldwide and thus impacting human health and biological research.
Thomson is CDI founder and Chief Scientific Officer, and Yamanaka is a member of iPS Academia Japan’s scientific advisory board.
Drs. Thomson and Yamanaka concurrently published in Science and Cell, respectively, in 2007 on their breakthrough iPSC research, whereby they turned ordinary human skin cells into pluripotent stem cells with the same characteristics and potential as embryonic stem cells.
iPS Academia Japan was originally established to manage the patents and technology arising from the work of Dr. Yamanaka of Kyoto University. CDI was the first foreign company granted a license to Yamanaka’s iPSC patent portfolio by iPS Academia Japan, announced in May 2010.
CDI is the world’s largest manufacturer of cellular tools for drug discovery and safety derived from iPSCs. The company currently manufactures iCell Cardiomyocytes, human heart cells created from iPSCs, with several other cell types including endothelial (blood vessel) cells, neurons, and liver cells in development for launch within a year.
Osamu Yoshida, MD, Ph D, President and CEO of iPS Academia Japan, stated, ”Dr. Yamanaka’s goal is to see the application of iPSC technology utilized broadly to benefit the health and well-being of people. Toward this end, iPS Academia Japan is pleased to partner with Cellular Dynamics, the leader in iPSC-derived tissue manufacturing, thereby making the benefits of this technology widely available to researchers in Japan through our distribution and support of CDI’s iCell products.”
Robert Palay, CEO and chairman of the board of CDI, noted, “We are pleased that iPS Academia Japan, of which Dr. Yamanaka is a member of their scientific advisory board, chose to distribute CDI’s iPSC-derived iCell products. This new distribution agreement, along with our prior licensing agreement, sets the stage for a strong partnership that will foster collaboration to move our technology forward.”
Chris Parker, VP and Chief Commercial Officer of CDI, said, “CDI has made great strides in industrializing the process of manufacturing iPSCs and terminal cell types in the quantity, quality, and purity required for the pharmaceutical industry. We are pleased to partner with a distributor in Japan who shares our vision of delivering high quality iPSC-derived cellular tools to researchers. This partnership puts CDI one step closer to making our cellular research tools available worldwide.”