CARLSBAD, Calif., March 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) announced today that it has signed a collaborative research agreement and related license with Harvard University under which it has acquired exclusive rights to develop a panel of characterization assays designed to rapidly evaluate human pluripotent stem (hPS) cells for their utility in a variety of discovery and translational research applications. The license expands Life's growing portfolio of stem cell research products and deepens its commitment to customers in the field.
The panel, which will be offered on the company's market-leading semiconductor sequencing and PCR-based genetic analysis platforms, will help overcome major hurdles that impede stem cell technology from moving into the clinic. Current methods for evaluating pluripotency – the potential for induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to differentiate into any cell type – are laborious, costly and can produce ambiguous results.
Standardizing the way researchers characterize iPS cells will allow them to quickly identify the most promising cell lines and avoid wasting time and resources on cells that do not possesses the appropriate characteristics. Such efficiency could accelerate applications ranging from development of "disease-in-a-dish" models from patient-derived cells and drug screening, to the eventual use of pluripotent cells as a renewable source for transplantation medicine.
"As iPS cell research grows in scale and moves closer to the clinic, investigators are increasingly in need of characterization standards that enable them to make informed decisions about the quality of their cells," said Chris Armstrong , Ph.D., General Manager and Vice President of Primary and Stem Cell Systems at Life Technologies. "Our investment in this important work developed at Harvard University supports our sustained commitment to provide our customers with the most innovative tools for the iPS cell workflow."
The panel of assays was developed by Alex Meissner , Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University, and is being further studied and validated in collaboration with Life Technologies. Dr. Meissner is the lead author of a study in the journal Cell (Vol. 144, No. 3, pp. 439-452, Feb. 4, 2011) that identified a range of expression levels among key genes associated with pluripotency. By measuring gene activity in iPS cells against the study's gene expression range, Meissner's lab was able to accurately score cells for their potential to differentiate into particular cell lineages.
"Stem cell research and genomics have rapidly advanced in parallel over the past few years," said Dr. Meissner. "Combining both fields of study is enabling more effective and standardized ways of characterizing pluripotent cells and, therefore, greatly improving efficiency and the application of iPS cells."
Considered a growing segment in the field, the global stem cell characterization market is currently estimated to be $30 million per year, while the overall market for the stem cell research tools is approximately $1 billion, according to BioInformatics LLC.
This announcement marks the third major license agreement in less than a year for Life Technologies' Primary and Stem Cell Systems group. In June 2012, the company retained the non-exclusive global rights from iPS Academia Japan for its iPS cell patent portfolio – enabling Life Technologies to expand its range of products and services. That same month, the company also announced a partnership with Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), the world's largest producer of human cells derived from (iPS) cells, to commercialize a set of new products optimized to consistently develop and grow human iPS cells.
About Life Technologies
Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) is a global biotechnology company that is committed to providing the most innovative products and services to leading customers in the fields of scientific research, genetic analysis and applied sciences. With a presence in more than 180 countries, the company's portfolio of 50,000 end-to-end solutions are secured by more than 5,000 patents and licenses that span the entire biological spectrum -- scientific exploration, molecular diagnostics, 21st century forensics, regenerative medicine and agricultural research. Life Technologies has approximately 10,000 employees and had sales of $3.8 billion in 2012.
Life Technologies' Safe Harbor Statement
This press release includes forward-looking statements about our anticipated results that involve risks and uncertainties. Some of the information contained in this press release, including, but not limited to, statements as to industry trends and Life Technologies' plans, objectives, expectations and strategy for its business, contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Any statements that are not statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. When used, the words "believe," "plan," "intend," "anticipate," "target," "estimate," "expect" and the like, and/or future tense or conditional constructions ("will," "may," "could," "should," etc.), or similar expressions, identify certain of these forward-looking statements. Important factors which could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are detailed in filings made by Life Technologies with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Life Technologies undertakes no obligation to update or revise any such forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.
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