Stem Cell Theranostics announced the sub-license with GE Healthcare last night, explaining that the agreement covers intellectual property (IP) needed to generate human cardiomyocyte models for preclinical drug development from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS).
Spokeswoman Rachel Bolger told us the deal “ensures that we and our partners have the appropriate freedom to operate,” adding that the firm will use the GE Healthcare IP in combination with cells from a biobank operated by the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute.
“Using this biobank, we are able to generate a library of cardiomyocytes disease models that harbour genetic mutations that cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy and various channelopathies.
“These patient-derived cardiomyocytes exhibit a variety of disease phenotypes including hypertrophy, contraction defects and arrhythmias, making them attractive disease models for drug efficacy and toxicity testing.
She added that: “While other organizations have commercialized normal cardiomyocytes, we are currently the only commercial company that is focusing on genetic disease models for heart failure.”
The IP was originally developed by Geron.
GE Healthcare licensed it in 2009 according to a company spokeswoman who explained that: "In 2012 GE expanded this agreement obtaining exclusive global rights to Geron’s IP for the development and sale of cellular assays derived from iPS cells."
GE Healthcare licensed the same IP to Cellular Dynamics in 2012.
Heart disease models developed by Stem Cell Theranostics are already being used by the firm for its internal drug development programmes and by partners seeking to identify novel disease mechanisms and drug targets Bolger said.
The GE license follows just four months after the firm signed a non-exclusive deal to access knowhow developed by IPS Academia Japan.
Like the new accord, the earlier agreement covered use of IP to generate drug discovery models from cells obtained from a biobank, specifically one operated by Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application.