French genome engineering firm Cellectis inked two separate nonexclusive deals with Tokyo-based iPS Academia Japan, covering access to the latter’s induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) patent portfolio. The deals give Cellectis and its affiliates rights to develop and commercialize both research tools and human therapeutics or prophylactis derived from iPSC cells, in a range of differentiated cell lineages. Cellectis and its stem cell subsidiary, Ectycell, will use the licensed technologies to generate consistent cell lines as both research tools and for therapeutics development. The firm says the therapeutics and prophylactis deal is the first by iPS academia outside the research tools field.
“These agreements provide Cellectis with a powerful combination of innovative technologies to deliver robust and high value products,” comments David Sourdive, Ph.D., Cellectis executive vp corporate development. “This could potentially lead to the development of important new products in the field of human healthcare, which is a longstanding commitment for Cellectis.”
The licensed stem cell technologies were originally developed by Shinya Yamanaka, M.D., at the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at the University of Tokyo. iPS Academia was established in 2008 as an affiliate of Kyoto University, to manage and license out iPSC technologies developed by the univeristy’s scientists.
The Cellectis subsidiary Ectycell was set up about a year ago to research and commercialize industrial uses of stem cell-derived products. Its initial aims are to develop tools for generating iPSC from adult cells, enable the robust and reproducible differentiation of stem cells, and develop cell libraries for drug candidate testing.