Cellular Dynamics and Coriell Institute for Medical Research Awarded Multi-Million Dollar Grants from California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to Manufacture and Bank Stem Cell Lines

21 Mar 2013
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Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) and Coriell Institute for Medical Research today announced receiving two multi-million dollar grant awards from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

CIRM awarded CDI $16 million to create 3 induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines for each of 3000 healthy and diseased donors. Tissue samples will be taken from patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorders, liver diseases, cardiovascular diseases, neurodevelopmental disabilities such as cerebral palsy and infantile epilepsy, diseases of the eye, or respiratory diseases. CDI will generate the iPSCs using the episomal, or footprint-free, reprogramming method first developed by CDI.

In addition, CIRM awarded Coriell Institute almost $10 million to set up and biobank the iPSC lines, of which CDI will be the primary subcontractor. Coriell Institute will establish a biorepository with proven methods for managing sample collection and tracking, safe storage, and capabilities for worldwide distribution of iPSCs generated by CDI.

CIRM was established to accelerate stem cell research in California by the establishment of a $3 billion fund approved by taxpayers. The most recent initiative earmarked $32.3 million for human iPSC initiatives, including tissue sample collection, iPSC derivation, and biobanking. This initiative will establish a state-of-the-art iPSC bank in California that will be broadly accessible by researchers worldwide.

Induced pluripotent stem cell lines can be created from any individual, and thus provide a powerful tool for studying genetic variation between individuals as well as understanding disease. Patient samples will be collected primarily from standard doctor’s office blood draws; CDI pioneered the technique to create iPSCs from blood. iPSCs have the potential to be reprogrammed into any cell type in the human body, and CDI already routinely manufactures heart cells, neurons, liver cells, and endothelial cells in high quantity, quality, and purity.

“The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is a world leader in funding stem cell research,” said Bob Palay, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CDI, “. Their human IPSC banking initiative will create the world’s largest human iPSC bank. We are excited about receiving these grant awards. We see them as a validation of CDI’s iCell® operating system as the premier platform for high quality human iPSCs and differentiated cells.”

“Coriell Institute has established expertise in iPSC technology for several years now, and this award will expand our presence in the field considerably,” said Michael Christman, Ph.D., President and CEO of Coriell. “We’ve also determined the best practices in biobanking during our 60 years of operations, managing millions of biological specimen for research discovery around the globe. We see the vast research potential with iPSCs and are enthusiastic about partnering with an outstanding company like CDI which is a world leader in the field.”

Tom Novak, CDI Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Coriell Institute to build and operate the CIRM human iPSC biobank. Together we intend to set high quality standards for the biobank to ensure that it meets the needs of the research community. Our work at CDI is focused on applying stem cell technology to impact human health today. Toward that end we developed the episomal reprogramming method to ensure that the resulting iPSCs are free of exogenous DNA, and this CIRM grant validates that method as researchers worldwide will access the resulting iPSC lines for disease research. We’ve concentrated our efforts on manufacturing human iPSC-based models and enabling access to cell types, from both healthy and diseased patients, that previously were impossible to obtain.”

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