Sigma-Aldrich Corporation announced that Sigma Life Science, its biological products and services research business, has acquired a worldwide license to use Kyoto University’s induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell patent portfolio. Sigma Life Science, leveraging its zinc finger protein platform and stem cell technology portfolio, is now poised to develop a new set of differentiated tools for both the drug discovery and preclinical research communities. These tools will include novel iPS-cells, iPS-cell derived primary cells, novel assays, custom cell line development, and ADME/toxicology services. Under the terms of the agreement, iPS Academia Japan, Inc. will receive a license fee from Sigma-Aldrich.
iPS cell technology can create pluripotent stem cells from the normal adult cells of a patient. Pluripotent stem cells are capable of differentiating into many specialized primary cell types needed for research, such as cardiomyocytes, hepatocytes, neurons, and muscle cells. With access to differentiated cells from patients with the condition of interest, or healthy human cells engineered to contain disease-specific genetics, researchers may obtain greater predictive accuracy than is possible with the in vitro models used currently in pharmaceutical research and preclinical studies.
“The pace of progress in iPS cell research has been breathtaking thanks to many scientists’ strenuous efforts. With the non-exclusive license agreement that has been formed by Sigma-Aldrich, a global corporation in the life science field, and iPS Academia Japan, I expect that this move will further accelerate research and development using iPS cell technologies not only in the United States but also in the rest of the world,” said Professor Shinya Yamanaka, Director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) at Kyoto University.
“Our license with Kyoto University grants us the freedom to operate under Kyoto University’s induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell patent portfolio in the increasingly important field of stem-cell based research and development. Researchers currently use primary cells derived from techniques that lack consistency and the ability to genetically engineer cells. Using the Kyoto iPS cell technology and our zinc finger protein technologies, we hope to generate stable, defined sets of cells and subsequently derived tissues whose predictive power will allow us to develop a new paradigm in assay development,” says David Smoller, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Sigma-Aldrich. “Thus, our Sigma-Aldrich scientists may be able to guide cells through the critical series of maturation steps—in ways no one has done previously—and also add reporter genes into these cells so that researchers can directly visualize the true biology of cellular processes.”
Sigma Life Science’s iPS cell-based technologies, along with its existing stem cell product portfolio of serum-free cell culture products, cell culture media, 3D matrices, growth factors, and antibodies, will provide uniquely comprehensive support for iPS cell-related research.
Date: February 21, 2012
Source: Sigma-Aldrich Corporation