This week, I corresponded as a media expert on stem cells for Xconomy.com, a leading news channel focused on today’s high-tech economy.
The discussion point was how life has changed at Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) following the buy-out by FUJIFILM Holdings for $307 million in March 2015 and directions that CDI might take now that it has access to a new pool of resources.
The acquisition by FUJIFILM Holdings certainly brings with it advantages, including access to high-volume production and engineering technology, as well as strong financial reserves. The partnership also allows CDI access to the patents and technologies held by a plethora of other companies owned by its new multinational parent company.
In his article, Jeff Buchanan discusses life at CDI after the FUJIFILM acquisition. He explores directions that CDI might head with support from FUJIFILM Holdings, which has committed to being the “number one company in regenerative medicine,” according to Buchanan’s interview with Kaz Hirao.
Interestingly, CDI may consider expansion into the areas of drug and cell therapy development, a strategy which would involve substantial short-term risk, but potential long-term gains.
Whenever a company elects to pursue cell therapy and drug discovery platforms, it subjects itself long approval timelines and extremely costly clinical trial expenses. The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development recently released a study estimating the cost of a new drug to be $2.6 billion, which captures the high-degree of financial risk associated with this approach, a topic which Mr. Buchanan and I discussed.
However, CDI is undoubtedly the market leader in the area of manufacturing iPSCs and iPSC-derived cell types. The company has an robust patent portfolio containing more than 800 patents, of which 130 pertain to iPSCs. The company has also licensed rights to key iPSC patents, with CDI becaming the first foreign company to be granted rights to use Yamanaka’s iPSC patent portfolio in 2010.
This control over intellectual property provides CDI with the requisite technology for iPSC reprogramming and differentiation, and positions it for expansion into iPSC-based drug and cell therapy development if it so chooses.
Aptly titled, “At Cellular Dynamics, The Beat Goes on Under Fujifilm Ownership,” the article by Mr. Buchanan explores post-acquisition opportunities and risks for Cellular Dynamics.
The article can also be accessed at this URL:
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