Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) licensed U.S.-issued patents related to stem cell differentiation and using heart cells in drug testing. The rights were obtained from Loren Field, Ph.D., and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). The deal includes patents pending at the European Patent Office and allows CDI to sublicense to other companies and institutions.
The patent portfolio covers a cell purification strategy that reportedly enables greater than 90% purity of any type of cell. Under the licensed technology, pluripotent stem cells are engineered to include a selectable marker. As the stem cells begin to differentiate into various terminal cell types, the marker allows researchers to identify and select a particular cell type and produce a highly purified and functional cell population.
The license also covers the use of cardiomyocytes purified through this technology for drug testing. While cardiomyocytes will be the company's first commercial product, CDI points out that these new patents will allow it to further existing programs for developing multiple cell types into highly purified populations.
CDI is using the Field technology in conjunction with the patents it has licensed from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation to create a pipeline that mass produces cells for large-scale drug screening campaigns at pharmaceutical companies and for regenerative medicine applications.