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Expansion and partnering in stem cells
August 2017
by Mel J. Yeates  |  Email the author
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BILLERICA, Mass.—MilliporeSigma, the life-sciences business of Merck KGaA, recently announced an expansion of its distribution alliance with Public Health England (PHE) to include the European Bank for induced pluripotent Stem Cells (EBiSC)—a comprehensive iPS cell bank of more than 300 quality-controlled, disease-relevant, patient-derived human iPSC lines. In addition, MilliporeSigma and Elsevier announced at the end of June a partnership to integrate MilliporeSigma’s chemical products into Reaxys, Elsevier’s premier chemistry database.
 
EBiSC is a European public-private partnership project designed to address the increasing demand by stem cell researchers for quality-controlled, disease-relevant, research-grade iPSC lines, data and cell services. Its goal is to establish a centralized European cell bank providing researchers across academia and industry with access to scalable, cost-efficient and consistent high-quality tools for development of new medicines.
 
“This partnership will give customers greater access to a comprehensive suite of human iPSCs for disease modeling,” said Udit Batra, CEO, MilliporeSigma. “This is a great addition to our authenticated cell line portfolio and strengthens our offering across the iPSC workflow.”
 
MilliporeSigma provides a complete solution for the iPSC workflow, including novel reprogramming kits, iPSC culture media and stem cell antibodies and characterization kits. The addition of the EBiSC portfolio strengthens MilliporeSigma’s existing distribution relationship with PHE as a distributor of its European Collection of Authenticated Cell Cultures (ECACC) portfolio.
 
“For more than a decade, Sigma-Aldrich has worked with the ECACC, a part of Public Health England, to bring authenticated cell lines to research laboratories around the world. ECACC is the largest of the four PHE collections and provides cell lines originating from over 45 different species from normal and diseased tissues, including more than 600 human cancer cell lines,” says MilliporeSigma spokesperson Karen Tiano. “This expansion makes MilliporeSigma a global distributor of induced pluripotent stem cells.”
 
Under the terms of the agreement with PHE, MilliporeSigma will employ its sales, marketing and e-commerce expertise to distribute the EBiSC Human iPS Cell Bank. The distribution agreement includes all geographies except Japan. Financial details were not disclosed.
 
Meanwhile, MilliporeSigma and Elsevier’s partnership to integrate MilliporeSigma’s chemical products into Reaxys, Elsevier’s premier chemistry database, will enable users of Reaxys to access an additional 43,000 MilliporeSigma compounds and chemicals, with data provided directly from the company. The collaboration also means that users will have access to both product availability as well as standard MilliporeSigma pricing for U.S.-based customers.
 
When asked how the partnership began, Klaus-Reinhard Bischoff, head of Merck Research Solutions, says, “MilliporeSigma approached Elsevier with the idea to bring two strong partners together to provide a unique design-to-buy solution, by linking the quality Sigma-Aldrich materials to the Reaction Design by Reaxys.”
 
“After initial calls and in-person meetings, it very rapidly turned out that this will be the start of a true partnership; values, mission and customer focus resonated very well,” adds Christian Böhm, director of Chemistry Solutions at Elsevier.
 
The integration with MilliporeSigma provides Reaxys users with a number of key benefits, including a more efficient, time-saving process which enables users to purchase chemicals and compounds directly from MilliporeSigma. High-quality and reliable data provided by MilliporeSigma, in combination with Reaxys’ “unparalleled” published experimental reaction data, gives users confidence in making right decisions in their research process. Further, the integration means users are able to quickly compare the cost of purchasing a compound against making it internally. This allows a better allocation of budget resources, while also saving users time and accelerating their research.
 
“We are continually looking for ways to develop the functionality of Reaxys for our users’ needs, in order to help support and accelerate their research,” comments Böhm. “MilliporeSigma is recognized as an industry leader, and so this collaboration is a great addition to Reaxys, which will prove beneficial to users. Commercial availability is a key information in current chemistry R&D as make or buy decisions are crucial for project planning. In particular, to reduce the time needed for project completion, the availability of building blocks is of high importance.”
 
“However, quality of products and ability to deliver these in time is key. That’s another reason why we decided to partner with Millipore Sigma, who is a high-quality provider with best-in-class supply chain,” says Böhm. “Our customers now can easily check commercial availability in Reaxys, plan synthesis accordingly and order the required compounds at Millipore Sigma. Furthermore, our customers will benefit from the additional information available at the Millipore Sigma website and have, e.g., immediate access to Material Safety Data Sheets.”
 
Reaxys contains more than 240 years of chemistry content, including 105 million organic, inorganic and organometallic compounds, 42 million chemical reactions, 500 million published experimental facts, 16,000 chemistry related periodicals and six indexing sources for a cross-disciplinary view of chemistry.
 
“We are already working on the next phase of product integration, and will soon expose our extended partner catalogue within Reaxys,” notes Bischoff. “In the future we can see opportunity for other forms of collaboration between our two companies that can simplify customer workflows and create value.”
 
“We see this as a first step of a promising partnership and a good example of how the physical—compound—world of chemistry and the information space are coming closer and interlinking, creating additional value for our customers,” Böhm concludes.
 
Code: E081709

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