FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics, Inc. (FCDI), a leading developer and manufacturer of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and differentiated tissue-specific iPSCs, announced today that it has entered into an exclusive patent license agreement with the University of California – Irvine (UCI) through its offices at UCI Applied Innovation to license and commercialize UCI’s technologies for derivation of microglia in the commercial research field and also a non-exclusive patent license agreement to commercialize microglia media formulation. The license of UCI’s groundbreaking technology enables FCDI to differentiate pluripotent stem cells into microglia cells, a brain cell type that plays a critical role in preserving the function of the brain. With this technology, FCDI intends to develop an iPSC-derived microglia product with media, which will be critical to enabling the study of degenerative neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
“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 Seimi Satake, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FCDI.“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.”
“We are pleased that FCDI has licensed our protocol to make and distribute microglia to the scientific community. As leaders in the field of providing iPSC-derived products, we are confident that FCDI will provide researchers and scientists with a reliable product in large scale to carry out quality studies,” said Wayne Poon and Edsel Abud, UCI co-inventors of the technology.
“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,” added 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.”
The intellectual property licensed by UCI Applied Innovation is the outcome of the published study, iPSC-derived Human Microglia-like Cells to Study Neurological Diseases (Abud, Edsel M. et al., Neuron, Volume 94, Issue 2, 278 - 293.e9), which used FCDI’s proprietary iPSC-derived hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) as well as other HPCs. The study results suggest that iPSCs derived from adult somatic cells from donors can be turned into brain microglia cells. A stable and consistent supply of iPSC-derived microglia cells from healthy and diseased donors can foster understanding of human microglia and the role that they play in neurological diseases.
In the United States, a common neurological disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, affects more than 5.1 million people; it is characterized by cognitive decline as a result of cell death (source: NIH).