Cellular Dynamics signs on with AstraZeneca for drug discovery

Cellular Dynamics has struck a deal with AstraZeneca ($AZN), agreeing to provide stem cells for AZ's drug-discovery efforts.

Neither company disclosed financial terms, but Cellular Dynamics will provide the drugmaker with human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines, which the company says provide high-utility models without the ethical concerns brought on by embryonic stem cells.

The Center of Excellence agreement, covering Cellular Dynamics' iCell and MyCell technologies, follows similar deals with GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Roche ($RHHBY), and CEO Bob Palay said the continued interest from Big Pharma is a testament to the value of his company's innovation.

"We are excited that AstraZeneca shares our vision that iPSC technology can be transformative," Palay said in a statement. "The Center of Excellence agreements show CDI's leadership in developing best practices to employ human iPSCs to advance healthcare discoveries."

AstraZeneca has been no stranger to partnering of late, trying to kick-start its sluggish pipeline, and teaming up with Cellular Dynamics will give it a solid platform for testing new therapies, AZ's Discovery Sciences Vice President Steve Rees said.

- read the announcement