Stay alert to the latest and greatest on stem cells. Enjoy this week’s “3 Bullet Thursday,” a weekly post that we do to update you on interesting and important events within the world of stem cells.
1. In major news this week, Astellas Pharma announced it is acquiring Ocata Therapeutics for $379M. Astellas, a major drug company in Japan, will pay $8.50 a share, a 79% premium over the stock price last Friday. Ocata, which changed its name from Advanced Cell Technology last November, specializes in using pluripotent stem cells, such as embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), to treat diseases of the eye.
2. In other exciting news, Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), a FUJIFILM company, announced an collaboration with Roche to supply CDI’s induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived iCell products for the identification of novel drug candidates at earlier stages of drug discovery. The partnership is dependent on achieving specific milestones, but could amount to $83M in total.
3. In less positive news, a research team at the Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application has decided to delay a possible iPSC therapy for Parkinson’s disease, saying it will not apply for safety screening before next year. Previously the group had indicated it might apply for safety screening as early as this June. This is disappointing news, because the first clinical trial involving the transplant of iPSC-derived tissues into humans is also “on hold,” a landmark study led by Dr. Takahashi for the treatment of macular degeneration.