The induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) industry is a rapidly evolving area. Since the discovery of iPSCs in 2006, there have been a number of important market events that have occurred, including the first ever clinical trial in humans that was initiated in August 2013 to investigate iPSC-derived cell sheets for restoring vision, as well as large funding awards, major initial public offerings (IPOs), critical patent challenges, and more.
Every month there are major events occurring in the sector that shift industry dynamics. Often, these events are announcements of technical or scientific advancements. Sometimes there are announcements of major industry alliances. Occasionally, there are announcements of a new industry competitor, a major milestone, or a significant funding award.
For those of us interested in the induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) industry, tracking these shifting dynamics is of paramount importance. This post covers the most significant iPSC industry news events for January 2015.
iPSC News Round-Up for January 2015
1. New partnership aims to create stem cell resource to study psychiatric disorders
The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) and the Stanley Center at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard are partnering to create a foundational stem cell resource to study psychiatric disorders through the production of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell lines from individuals with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.
2. In vitro platform for antimalarial testing developed from stem cells
Lab-grown liver cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells may allow for personalized testing on antimalarial drugs and vaccines, according to recent data. “The platform can be used for testing candidate drugs that act against the parasite in the early liver stages, before it causes disease in the blood and spreads back to the mosquito vector,” says Sangeeta Bhatia, MD, PhD, of MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Bhatia and colleagues reprogrammed human skin cells to generate iPSCs, which were then adapted to model cells from the liver using a 20-day in vitro differentiation protocol.
* NOTE: Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) also published a press release about this iPSC news topic on February 11, 2015, titled “iCell Hepatocytes Enable Malaria-in-a-Dish Studies.” In this press release, CDI wrote that their iCell® Hepatocytes, or human liver cells manufactured from iPSCs, had been used as a malaria-in-a-dish model to test anti-malarial drug candidates.
3. Cynata Therapeutics achieves stem cell manufacturing breakthrough
Cynata Therapeutics has achieved a breakthrough in the manufacture of stem cells and is set to scale up manufacturing of its mesenchymal stem cells derived from iPSCs for therapeutic use.
The company’s lead Cymerus™ stem cell manufacturing process has now been successfully validated through extensive trials at Waisman Biomanufacturing in Madison, Wisconsin. The trials confirmed this state-of-the-art stem cell manufacturing process is capable of producing MSCs for therapeutic application, consistently, efficiently and economically, in a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) production environment.
Importantly, the Cymerus™ process uses an effectively limitless starting material – a bank of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) – and a patent-protected process to derive MSCs for commercial use.
4. Cellular Dynamics Manufactures cGMP HLA “Superdonor” Stem Cell Lines to Enable Cell Therapy With Genetic Matching
Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. (CDI) announced that it has manufactured, under current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), stem cell lines from two HLA “superdonors.” HLA superdonors are individuals whose genetic HLA (human leukocyte antigens) profiles make their cells or tissues more compatible for donation to unrelated patients. As the first announced HLA superdonor master cell bank in the world, and the first produced under cGMP, these cell lines will enable a new area of cell therapy research using HLA matching.
CDI manufactured the HLA superdonor cell lines from blood samples collected from eligible anonymous donors. The induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines made from the donor samples are pluripotent, meaning they can be used to produce virtually any cell type in the human body.
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