FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics, Inc., the leading developer and manufacturer of human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and differentiated tissue-specific iPSCs, has entered into an exclusive patent license agreement to use UCI technology through UCI Applied Innovation, effective April 2018.
FCDI will license and commercialize the UCI technology, which is focused on the development of microglia, in the commercial research field. FCDI also obtained non- exclusive rights to additional UCI technology to commercialize the microglia media formulation.
Microglia are the primary immune cells found in the central nervous system. They remove damaged neurons and infections of the central nervous system, according to Nature, a revered scientific journal. This technology will enable the company to differentiate pluripotent stem cells into microglia cells, creating a renewable source of microglia which play a crucial role in preserving the brain’s function. FCDI intends to develop an iPSC-derived microglia product with media, which enables the study of degenerative neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
“We are delighted that FCDI has recognized the importance of iPSC-derived microglia to model and study human neurological disease and advance our understanding of microglia biology,” said Matt Blurton-Jones, UCI associate professor and co-inventor of the technology. “We hope that by making this new technology readily available to the scientific community, researchers worldwide will uncover important new findings and accelerate the discovery of promising therapies.”
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of mortality in the United States and approximately 5.7 million Americans are living with the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. More research such as this can inform therapies that can help slow the growth of neurodegenerative diseases.
“Until now researchers have relied predominantly on animal models, which do not sufficiently mimic the human disease, to study the role microglia play in neurodegeneration,” said Eugenia Jones, Ph.D., FCDI senior director of marketing and product development. “With UCI’s technology, FCDI will bring to market iPSC-derived microglia that will provide researchers with better tools to characterize microglia from donors with neurological diseases, to develop assays that distinguish between normal and diseased behaviors and to advance efforts in discovering new therapies.”