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Stem Cell Developer-Supplier Issues Initial Public Offering

Stem Cells (NSF)

Stem Cells (National Science Foundation)

Cellular Dynamics International in Madison, Wisconsin, a developer and supplier of human stem cells in bulk quantities, filed an initial public offering (IPO) of its stock with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company is issuing some 3.85 million shares, which it expects to price at $12.00 to $14.00 a share, giving it an estimated market capitalization of $205 million. The stock will trade on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol ICEL.

Cellular Dynamics designs and generates induced pluripotent stem cells, derived from live human tissue samples, cultured in the lab, and then reprogrammed with plasmids — self-replicating DNA molecules — to transform into the desired human cells for clinical applications. The company provides specific cell types — heart, blood vessel, liver, and neurons — for toxicity testing and simulation.

In addition, Cellular Dynamics provides a customized stem cell service for patients to grow their donated samples. The induced pluripotent stem cells, says the company, can transform into some 200 human cell types for an individual patient without the risk of rejection caused by donated tissue.

The company is developing two stem cell prototypes, as progenitors for central nervous system and blood-related cells. The central nervous system cells, known as astrocytes, are responsible for a range of complex and essential functions, and their loss or change is associated with neurodegenerative conditions, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. The hematopoietic or blood-related cells are being developed for research and toxicity testing.

Cellular Dynamics was founded in 2004 by stem cell researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Research by one of the founders, James Thompson, forms the basis of the company’s technology, which appeared in the journal Science in 2009. Thompson continues as the company’s chief scientist and a member of its board of directors.

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Hat tip: Fortune/Term Sheet

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