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Cellular Dynamics Announces Commercial Launch of iCell® Neurons for Neuroscience Drug Discovery
Date:12/13/2011

MADISON, Wis., Dec 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) today announced the commercial launch of human iCell® Neurons for use in neuroscience drug discovery, neurotoxicity screens, and other health research. This is the first commercial availability of human neurons, or brain cells, created from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in the quantity, quality, and purity required for life science research.

iCell Neurons exhibit the typical physiological characteristics and responses of the neurons with which we are born. These neurons quickly form connective neuronal networks that are electrophysiologically active, making them useful in a variety of applications commonly used in neuroscience research, including cell viability, ATP production, oxidative stress, neurite outgrowth, electrophysiology, and synaptic neurotransmission assays. CDI's proprietary manufacturing capabilities enable the production of iCell Neurons in industrial quantities with greater than 95% purity.

CDI has successfully engaged in pre-launch collaborations with several pharmaceutical customers for validation testing and establishing disease-relevant neuroscience assays. "We have been working with CDI for some time now and are very impressed with their iCell Neurons, which provide us with a unique model of pure and highly differentiated human neurons showing real potential for measuring functional neurotransmission," said Dr. Pascal Laeng, Head of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at Galenea Corp. "The preliminary data are very promising, and we look forward to continued collaboration with CDI to implement iCell Neurons in our high throughput assay of synaptic function."

Dr. Johannes Mosbacher, Director of CNS Electrophysiology, Actelion Pharmaceuticals, said, "CDI's human iPSC-derived neurons, iCell Neurons, offer unprecedented opportunities for drug discovery and development. The cells not only functionally express key ion channels and receptors but also form electrophysiologically active networks. These attributes of iCell Neurons help substantiate the possibility that these cells provide an exciting new human model of neuronal physiology that augments traditional ones, such as rat primary neurons and human neuronal cell lines."

iCell Neurons present a human platform that enables the modeling of healthy neuronal cells to improve the predictability of drug candidate efficacy and toxicity screens early in the pharmaceutical pipeline process. "The human brain represents a complex organ that has consistently proven difficult to model in vitro, and this is partially reflected in the lack of effective therapeutics to treat neurological diseases and disorders," said Chris Parker, Chief Commercial Officer. "Degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and ALS, and genetic dispositions, such as Huntington's and muscular dystrophy, can also be modeled to better understand these disease states for drug discovery and eventual therapies."

Because iCell Neurons are human cells, they better recapitulate human biology. These cells are better predictors of drug candidate responses than current cell models, including immortalized cell lines and primary neurons isolated from rodent tissues, which present significant limitations in biological relevance, reproducibility, and scalability. 

Robert Palay, Chief Executive Officer of CDI, said, "iCell Neurons are the third iPSC-derived product CDI has now commercially launched. We launched the first product ever developed from iPS cells, iCell Cardiomyocytes, in December 2009, followed by iCell Endothelial Cells in September 2011. Based on strong intellectual property and exclusively licensed patents, we have developed a proprietary process to industrialize the manufacture of virtually any cell type in the human body. CDI is the first company to utilize stem cell technology to manufacture the vast quantities of high quality stem cells and tissue cells required to better understand human biology, revolutionize the drug discovery process, and develop cell-based therapies to treat human diseases."

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.


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SOURCE Cellular Dynamics International, Inc.
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