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GE Healthcare Life Sciences, CDI announce license agreement
CHALFONT ST. GILES, United KingdomóGE Healthcare Life Sciences, a business unit of GE Healthcare, and Cellular Dynamics International have announced a license agreement. Per the terms of the agreement, GE Healthcare has licensed Cellular Dynamics to develop, manufacture and sell cellular assays and models derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells for use in drug discovery and toxicity screening. Financial terms for the agreement were not released.
"We believe it is important that stem cell-based assays are available to researchers so that progress can be made in drug discovery; clarity and freedom to operate is fundamental to advancing the use of such assays. Our recently extended agreement with Geron provided the foundation for the type of agreement we are announcing today," Dr. Amr Abid, general manager of Cell Technologies at GE Healthcare Life Sciences, said in a statement. "GE Healthcare believes that such agreements are the next step to enabling the wider industry to benefit from the use of this key intellectual property without violating patent rights. We are delighted that Cellular Dynamics International is the first company to work with us to bring greater clarity to the marketplace."
Cellular Dynamics is a leading developer, manufacturer and vendor of human iPS cell lines and tissue cells. Its current offering includes iCell Cardiomyocytes, iCell Neurons (brain cells), iCell Endothelial Cells (blood vessel cells) and iCell Hepatocytes (liver cells), as well as its MyCell Services, a custom cell manufacturing service that produces stem cells or terminal cells from any individual, including those with diseases of interest.
"CDI's mission is to provide human cell-based research and drug discovery tools that enhance scientists' ability to better understand human biology, increase efficiency of the discovery process and ultimately improve human healthcare," Bob Palay, CEO of Cellular Dynamics International, said in a press release. "The IP space surrounding stem cell technology is complex. With the licensing of the GE-Geron intellectual property portfolio, CDI now has more than 700 licensed or owned patents and patent applications. We have built our IP portfolio intending to ensure broad freedom to operate and to offer customers products that they can use with confidence and the knowledge that their subsequent discoveries are protected by this IP portfolio."
The agreement is the latest of several ventures in the stem cell space for both companies. GE Healthcare launched its Cytiva cardiomyocytes in 2010, stem cell-based assays that aid in determining the toxicity of drug candidates in the earlier stages of drug discovery. More recently, GE Healthcare has announced the expansion of its license with Menlo Park, Calif.-based Geron, a biopharmaceutical company developing first- in-class cancer therapeutics. The expansion allows GE Healthcare to obtain exclusive global rights to Geron's intellectual property and know-how for developing and selling cellular assays derived from iPS cells.
For its part, Cellular Dynamics announced in late October that the National Institutes of Health Center for Regenerative Medicine (NIH-CRM) had awarded it a contract to provide iPS cell lines and terminally differentiated tissue cells from normal or specified patient populations. The three-year agreement could be worth up to $7 million, and is the third contract Cellular Dynamics has been awarded from NIH-CRM, with the first two originating in 2011.