15 Jan WARF signs stem cell agreement with Cellartis AB
Madison, Wis. – Cellartis AB, a European provider of human embryonic stem cell products, has sif=”http://www.cellartis.gned a licensing agreement with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.
The agreement allows Cellartis to commercialize undifferentiated hES cell products in the United States.
Cellartis AB is located in Gothenburg, Sweden and Dundee, Scotland. The company develops stem cell-derived products, primarily hepatocytes (liver cells) and cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells), for drug screening and regenerative medicine.
Mats Lundwall, chief executive officers for Cellartis, said in a press release that the license “opens the door to the large and important U.S. market, alongside additional emerging partnering opportunities in the U.S., which fits well into our growth strategy.”
Cellartis, founded in 2001, has built the world’s first large-volume automated production facility for human ES cells. It currently has more than 50 employees.
Andy DeTienne, WARF’s licensing manager for stem cell technologies, said the agreement shows that commercial interest remains strong in human embryonic stem cells. In terms of media attention, ES cells have taken a back seat in recent months to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, but stem cell scientists insist that ES cells will continue to play a prominent role in science and medicine. The iPS cells are be derived from “reverse engineering” adult skin cells; like stem cells produced from embryos, they can become any cell in the human body. They are not as controversial as hES cells, which are derived in a process that involves the destruction of human embryos.
WARF’s critics charge that its stem cell patents have served to inhibit stem cell research, but DeTienne said the expansion of Cellartis’s business strategy “complements WARF’s goals for supporting growth in the human stem cell industry.”
WARF was established to license technologies developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, including stem cell technology developed 10 years ago by cell biologist Jamie Thomson. To date, the foundation has more than 940 active commercial license agreements and 460 academic and commercial licenses on human embryonic stem cells.
Overall, WARF licenses more than 1,000 technologies. The license agreements include fees based on the market value of the technology and patient reimbursement charges to cover costs associated with patenting the technologies.