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Life Technologies links up with Harvard in stem cell deal
by Kelsey Kaustinen  |  Email the author


CARLSBAD, Calif.Life Technologies Corporation and Harvard University have announced the signing of a collaborative research agreement and related license. Under the agreement, Life Technologies has acquired exclusive rights for the development of a panel of characterization assays for the rapid evaluation of human pluripotent stem cells to determine their usefulness for various discovery and translational research applications.
The methods that exist currently for determining induced pluripotent stem cells ' potential for differentiating into any cell type are labor-intensive and costly, as well as being prone towards ambiguous results. The panel that results from this agreement will be offered on Life Technologies' semiconductor sequencing and PCR-based genetic analysis platforms, and will help to address the existing issues in evaluating pluripotency.  
"As iPS cell research grows in scale and moves closer to the clinic, investigators are increasingly in need of characterization standards that enable them to make informed decisions about the quality of their cells," Chris Armstrong, Ph.D., general manager and vice president of Primary and Stem Cell Systems at Life Technologies, said in a press release. "Our investment in this important work developed at Harvard University supports our sustained commitment to provide our customers with the most innovative tools for the iPS cell workflow."
Introducing standardization to the process of characterizing induced pluripotent stem cells will enable faster identification of the cells lines with the most potential, speeding the process and decreasing the time and resources lost on ineffective lines.  
The panel of assays was developed by Alex Meissner, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University, and is undergoing further study and validation in collaboration with Life Technologies.
"Stem cell research and genomics have rapidly advanced in parallel over the past few years," said Meissner in a press release. "Combining both fields of study is enabling more effective and standardized ways of characterizing pluripotent cells and, therefore, greatly improving efficiency and the application of iPS cells."
Life Technologies' own work in the field of stem cells is extensive. The California-based company offers a variety of stem cells types and related products, including and for such types as embryonic, induced pluripotent, mesenchymal, neural and hematopoeitic stem cells. Its product offerings are geared toward applications such as stem cell analysis, culture, differentiation, engineering, reprogramming and therapy research.  
BioInformatics LLC, an Arlington, Va.-based company that provides custom market research for the life-science industry, estimates the global stem cell characterization market at $30 million per year, with the overall market for stem cell research tools tipping the scales at roughly $1 billion.      
SOURCE: Life Technologies press release
Code: E03051301



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