iZumi & Pierian Join Forces to Advance EMerging iPS Cell Platform
This article was originally published in Start Up
Every so often an undeniably important technology emerges resulting in the consolidation of IP and the alignment of thought leaders around a few main players. The new battleground is stem cells. And though the two heavy hitters in the promising induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell space, Ipierian and Fate Therapeutics, are perhaps less aggressive in publicly asserting their dominance, they've positioned themselves as leading competitors in the still-nascent but rapidly advancing area of cellular reprogramming.
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The big pharma adds a neurodegenerative asset to its early stage pipeline with the $175 million acquisition of iPierian; the firm will begin with studying the drug in a rare genetic disorder.
Insider investors committed $30 million to support two separate companies, each aiming to file an IND within 18 months. South San Francisco-based iPierian will concentrate on a candidate with potential in Alzheimer’s disease and related tauopathies, while the newly spun-out True North will focus on a compound targeting the complement system.
Cellular Dynamics International, which manufactures human cells for drug assays,has tapped a closely connected syndicate of investors for nearly $41 million in Series B funding, bringing total investment in the firm to $70 million. The fundraising total is impressive for a start-up in a highly speculative area of biotech where VCs have been cautious about committing capital.