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Roche, ChanTest Collaborate for Preclinical Cardiac Safety Testing of Drug Compounds Using iCell Cardiomyocytes and xCELLigence RTCA Cardio Instrument
Date:12/5/2011

INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 5,  2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) announced today that it has entered into a collaborative agreement with ChanTest Corporation, a leading ion channel screening provider, to perform cardiac safety testing of potential drug compounds using Roche's xCELLigence System RTCA Cardio Instrument and iCell® Cardiomyocytes, human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell-derived cardiomyocytes provided by Cellular Dynamics International (CDI).

Over the last two decades, a number of potential blockbuster drugs have been withdrawn from the market or terminated at late stages of development due to cardiac safety concerns like cardiotoxicity, which results when drugs adversely affect the heart. In part, this was due to the inadequacy of in-vitro models, such as animal cells, cell lines and cadaveric tissue. Testing on human heart cells, such as CDI's iCell Cardiomyocytes, can help researchers detect potential cardiac safety issues with drug candidates early in the discovery process -- before in-vivo animal or human testing is conducted -- potentially saving drug companies significant development costs.

In the agreement, ChanTest will use Roche's xCELLigence RTCA Cardio Instrument and CDI's iCell Cardiomyocytes to measure pharmacological responses to a variety of compounds that have been selected based on their known effects on ion channels. The assessment will include both acute and long-term exposure conditions, and will compare results to those obtained using conventional methods and to known data from preclinical and clinical studies.

About the xCELLigence System RTCA Cardio Instrument

The latest member of the xCELLigence product family, the RTCA Cardio Instrument is a 96-well cell analyzer for the dynamic monitoring of cardiomyocyte beating and cellular events by impedance readings. It records electrical impedance of cells grown on gold microelectrode arrays integrated into the bottom of each well of an E-Plate Cardio 96. In contrast to single-cell, acute techniques like patch clamp, the xCELLigence system provides real-time, label-free beating pattern analysis and is used in a fully controlled environment (within a tissue culture incubator) for continuous short-term and long-term experiments, allowing for more physiologically relevant data. More information is available at www.xcelligence.roche.com.

About ChanTest Corporation (www.chantest.com)

ChanTest's mission is to serve the research, drug discovery and drug development needs of customers worldwide with high-value solutions for ion channel and GPCR biology. Since its inception in 1998, the company has tested compounds for more than 500 global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and partners with them to speed the drug development process for the release of better, safer drugs. ChanTest offers integrated ion channel and GPCR services (GLP and non-GLP) and reagents; the company's library of validated ion channel cell lines and pre-clinical cardiac risk assessment service portfolio are the most comprehensive commercially available today. Because of ChanTest's seminal role in the pre-clinical cardiac safety field led by its founder Dr. Buzz Brown, along with the company's uncompromising commitment to quality, ChanTest has been named the "most trusted and most used fee-for-service provider" for ion channel screening in an independent survey for the past five years. ChanTest is based in Cleveland, Ohio. For more information, e-mail info@chantest.com.

About Cellular Dynamics International, Inc.

Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. (CDI) is a leading developer of next-generation stem cell technologies for drug development, cell therapy, tissue engineering and organ regeneration. CDI harnesses its unique manufacturing technology to produce differentiated tissue cells from any individual's stem cell line in industrial quality, quantity and purity. CDI is accelerating the adoption of pluripotent stem cell technology, adapting its methods to fit into standard clinical practice by the creation of individual stem cell lines from a standard blood draw. 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 www.cellulardynamics.com.

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world's largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche's personalized healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2010, Roche had over 80,000 employees worldwide and invested over 9 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 47.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information: www.roche.com or www.roche-diagnostics.us.

All trademarks used or mentioned in this release are protected by law. XCELLIGENCE is a trademark of Roche. ICELL is a trademark of Cellular Dynamics International.

For further information, please contact:

Roche Diagnostics
Betsy Cox
Phone: +1 317 521 3911
E-mail: betsy.cox@roche.com

ChanTest
Reese A. Nank, APR
Reputations PR and Marketing
Phone: +1 410 218 9121
E-mail: reese@reputationspr.com

Cellular Dynamics
Joleen Rau
Phone: +1 608 310 5142
E-mail: jrau@cellulardynamics.com


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