Intrexon Corporation in Germantown, Maryland and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, California will collaborate on research with induced pluripotent stem cells. The deal gives Sanford-Burnham access to Intrexon’s latest stem cell processing technology in exchange for commercial and intellectual property rights to technological advances under the agreement. Financial aspects of the deal were not released.
Intrexon Corp. is a biotechnology company that specializes in synthetic biology and genetic engineering. Sanford-Burnham, a not-for-profit medical research center, is building a collection of induced pluripotent stem cells from individual patients and healthy volunteers. Induced pluripotent stem cells or iPSCs are adult stem cells reprogrammed to resemble embryonic stem cells that develop into different tissue cells in the body.
Under the agreement, Intrexon will provide pre-market access to two of its systems with potential for stem cell research. Intrexon’s Laser-Enabled Analysis and Processing or LEAP provides automated, high-throughput cell imaging with laser-based cell processing. The system is expected to help Sanford-Burnham’s Stem Cell Research Center isolate and purify stem cells that can accelerate research with complex human stem cell cultures.
“Intrexon’s LEAP instrument will allow us to isolate high-quality human iPSCs,” says Yang Liu, manager of Sanford-Burnham’s Stem Cell Research Center, “while eliminating non- or partially-reprogrammed cells or other undesirable cell types in the culture, a laborious process that previously took a trained technician a lot of time.”
Intexon’s RheoSwitch Therapeutic System induces expression of one or more genes with a library of ligand activators. Ligands are binding and signaling molecules. Sanford-Burnham anticipates the system will give its researchers a new tool to regulate the conditions for turning genes on and off, particularly for delivering new therapies to specific tissues.
Evan Snyder, director of Sanford-Burnham’s Stem Cell Research Center and Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology Program, says the technology “will help us to turn genes on or off in stem cells that have been transplanted. For example,” Snyder adds, “it can be used for therapeutic protein expression in stem cells that home to and help eradicate brain tumors.”
Sanford-Burnham says it makes its stem cell expertise and resources are available to all its scientists, as well as other researchers at for-profit and not-for-profit research organizations worldwide.
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