Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), a developer of next-generation stem cell technologies, signed a Center of Excellence agreement with global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to accelerate the pace of drug discovery through the use of human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines and tissue cells.
iPSC technology, based on reprogramming adult cells from a simple blood sample or a skin biopsy to a pluripotent stem cell state, shows promise in delivering robust human cell models of high utility in drug discovery and without the ethical concerns linked to the use of human embryonic stem cells.
AstraZeneca will take advantage of commercially available iCell products and CDI's recently launched MyCell products for iPSC reprogramming and differentiation, and the two parties will collaborate on the development of one or more novel cell types. AstraZeneca will purchase CDI's commercially available iCell products, including iCell Cardiomyocytes, iCell Neurons, iCell Endothelial Cells and iCell Hepatocytes, for use in their safety, discovery and regenerative medicine programs. Further, AstraZeneca will rely on CDI's novel MyCell products to genetically engineer and manufacture cells from specific patient groups for use as in vitro disease models. In addition, CDI will work in partnership with AstraZeneca toward development of new iPSC-derived cell types to enable novel discovery screening applications. Financial terms of the agreement were undisclosed.
"Increasingly, customers are recognizing CDI's focus and investment on industrializing the manufacture of iPSC-derived cells,” said Chris Parker, chief commercial officer of CDI. “Utilizing these standardized cellular tools enables customers like AstraZeneca to concentrate on developing therapies rather than manufacturing cell types."
Bob Palay, CEO of CDI, said, "This is the third Center of Excellence agreement we have entered into with a global pharma company, and these partnerships show customer recognition that leveraging CDI's technical expertise and resources can help accelerate their discoveries. We are excited that AstraZeneca shares our vision that iPSC technology can be transformative. The Center of Excellence agreements show CDI's leadership in developing best practices to employ human iPSCs to advance healthcare discoveries."