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Cellular Dynamics Licenses Technology From ViaCyte

MADISON, Wis., April 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), the world's largest producer of tissue cells derived from human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines, today announced it has strengthened its intellectual property (IP) portfolio by licensing patented definitive endoderm differentiation technology from ViaCyte, Inc., a stem cell company focused on diabetes therapy. CDI will apply this patented methodology in the development and production of iCell® Hepatocytes, iPSC-derived liver cells.  

ViaCyte's proprietary technology covers cell cultures containing specific amounts of definitive endoderm.  Definitive endoderm gives rise to organs and tissues such as the liver, pancreas, lung, intestine, thymus and thyroid. Separately, CDI has agreed to supply iPSC lines to ViaCyte.

Nick Seay, Chief Technology Officer of CDI, acknowledged the importance of this technology to CDI's IP portfolio. "ViaCyte has developed and filed patents on useful methodologies for differentiating into definitive endoderm, which is the normal intermediate in the subsequent manufacturing of hepatocytes. The right to incorporate this technology into our industrial pipeline assures our pharmaceutical customers that they will receive hepatocytes in the quantity, quality and purity that they require. In addition, this brings us a step closer toward developing hepatocyte line extensions, including panels with multiple iPSC starting materials. This step enables our customers to compare responses of tissue cells based on genetic diversity."

"We are pleased to strike this license agreement with CDI," said  John West, Chief Executive Officer of ViaCyte. "Our proprietary technology will facilitate the production of their iPSC-derived hepatocytes. We also look forward to using CDI's human iPSC-derived cells in the generation of pancreatic beta cells, the cells that make insulin, as our research efforts continue in our work on developing stem cell therapies for diabetes treatment."

"This licensing agreement is an important achievement for CDI as we move towards expanding our product line to include hepatocytes," added Chris Parker, Chief Commercial Officer of CDI. "The availability of these liver cells will provide pharmaceutical companies with a reliable source of well-characterized, highly reproducible and readily available human hepatocytes for preclinical drug discovery, hepatotoxicity testing, and disease research."

Terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.

About ViaCyte, Inc.

ViaCyte is a preclinical therapeutic company focused on diabetes. Our therapy is based on pancreatic beta cell progenitors (Pro-Islet™) derived from human pluripotent stem cells. These cells are implanted using a durable and retrievable encapsulation device. Once implanted and matured, these cells secrete insulin in response to blood glucose levels. The Company's goal is long term insulin independence without immune suppression, and without hypoglycemia and other diabetes-related complications.

ViaCyte is a private company headquartered in San Diego, California, with additional operations in Athens, Georgia. The Company is funded in part through the support of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

This news release may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the "Safe Harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  

About Cellular Dynamics International, Inc.

Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. (CDI) is a leading developer of next-generation stem cell technologies for drug development and personalized medicine applications. CDI harnesses the power of pluripotent stem cells and their ability to differentiate into any cell type for world-class drug development tools. In addition, it is the leader in iPSC technology, the production of pluripotent stem cell-derived lines from adult tissue. CDI was founded in 2004 by Dr. James Thomson, a pioneer in human pluripotent stem cell research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. CDI's facilities are located in Madison, Wisconsin. See

SOURCE Cellular Dynamics International, Inc.
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