Life Technologies Corporation (LIFE), a 7 billion dollar global life sciences company, today announced a partnership with Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), , the world’s largest producer of human cells derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, to commercialize a set of three new products optimized to consistently develop and grow human iPS cells for both research and bioproduction.
Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. (CDI), founded by induced pluripotent stem cell pioneer, Jamie Thomson, professor, University of Wisconsin, is a currently private developer of next-generation stem cell technologies for drug development, cell therapy, tissue engineering and organ regeneration. Jamie Thomson is a strong advocate for the use of Induced Pluripotent Stem cells in drug testing and development.
CDI uses a unique manufacturing technology to produce differentiated tissue cells from any individual’s stem cell line in industrial quality, quantity and purity. The company is attempting to accelerate the adoption of pluripotent stem cell technology, adapting its methods to fit into standard clinical practice by the creation of individual stem cell lines from a standard blood draw.
The partnership marries CDI’s human iPS cell development with Life Technologies’ expertise in stem cell research tool manufacturing as well as its global distribution network to make these technologies
"The launch of these new stem cell culture products furthers CDI founder and stem cell pioneer Jamie Thomson's vision to enable scientists worldwide to easily access the power of iPSC technology, thus driving breakthroughs in human health," noted Bob Palay, CDI Chief Executive Officer.
Existing feeder-free culture media contain more than 20 interactive ingredients, many of which, such as bovine serum albumin (BSA) and lipids, are highly uncharacterized and vary significantly from lot-to-lot. This leads to variability in iPS cell growth and differentiation, and impedes the progress of disease studies and potential clinical applications.
Essential 8 Medium overcomes this barrier. In addition, BSA and other undesirable components have been removed from the media, thus reducing the number of ingredients to just eight well-characterized elements required to support efficient growth, eliminate variability, and enable large-scale production of human iPS cells.
"If the goal is to make a billion cardiomyocytes a day, every day, you want to make sure they're all the same," said Emile Nuwaysir, PhD, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Cellular Dynamics International. "That's virtually impossible using mouse embryonic fibroblasts, and it's very difficult using the more complex, feeder-free media that were available before Essential 8."
Optimized for use with Essential 8 Medium, Vitronectin (VTN-N) is a defined, human protein-based substrate that further eliminates variability during iPS cell culture – unlike most existing feeder-free media that requires the use of an undefined matrix derived from mouse tumor cells for cell attachment and growth. The combination of Essential 8 Medium and Vitronectin (VTN-N) provides a defined culture system free of non-human components for robust, cost-effective and scalable iPS cell culture.
Life Technologies is also introducing the Episomal iPSC Reprogramming Vectors, which leverages non-viral, non-integrating technology to deliver six genes to initiate the reprogramming of human somatic cells, such as blood and skin cells, to iPS cells. A non-viral approach offers a key advantage: human-derived iPS cells have more relevance for patient-specific, disease research. Traditional viral-based methods, such as lentivirus or retrovirus, require integration into the host genome for replication and can disrupt the genome of the reprogrammed cells.
"The ability to reproducibly establish and culture iPS cells using defined reagent systems is key for the advancement of stem cell research, disease modeling and drug discovery," said Chris Armstrong PhD, General Manager and Vice President of Primary and Stem Cell Systems at Life Technologies. "The commercialization of these exciting new products serves that purpose and underscores our commitment to provide the most innovative and relevant workflow tools to our customers."
All three products were developed at the University of Wisconsin by Dr. James Thomson, whose lab pioneered embryonic stem cell research and much of the technology surrounding stem cell culturing conditions, in vitro differentiation and iPS cell generation.
Adapted from the Cellular Dynamics International announcement.