Univercell-Biosolutions negotiated a worldwide nonexclusive license to an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology developed by iPS Academia Japan, an affiliate of Kyoto University. The firms expect this initial agreement will be followed by future collaborations.
Univercell is focused on the development of stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes for use by the pharma and biotech industries in drug development. The firm claims its own technology allows it to isolate a population of cells comprising over 99% precardiomyocytes, overcoming what has to date been a bottleneck in terms of obtaining sufficiently enriched populations of cardiac cells. The technique is based on a sorting of early cardiovascular progenitors using membrane-specific antigen recognition. Univercell believes that combining this technology with iPS Academia’s means it will be able to produce iPSC-based cardiac cells at a large scale, so avoiding the need to negotiate the complex regulatory pathway needed for embryonic stem cell-based products.
“The UB solution is already validated and operational using iPS Academia technology, and the two technologies together open new avenues to bring to the market large scale production of human cardiomyocytes in sufficient volume and quality to satisfy the needs of the pharmaceutical industry,” notes Guillaume Costecalde, Univercell’s chairman and CEO. “We see this as an exceptional scientific and market opportunity and an important plank in our joint strategy to bring iPSC technology to industry worldwide.”
iPS Academia was established in June 2008 to manage patents and other IP generated and held by Kyoto University and other universities in the field of iPSC technologies.