February 16, 2009
AstraZeneca and Cellartis extend their collaboration to develop new way to test drug safety using stem cells
AstraZeneca and Cellartis AB announced today that they have signed an extension to their ongoing scientific collaboration to develop improved safety screening systems based on human embryonic stem cell (hESC) derived hepatocytes (liver cells) and cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) for target and lead validation, compound screening, drug metabolism studies, and safety assessment. The deal builds on Cellartis AB’s expertise as a premier provider of hESC derived products and technologies. The terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.
Today’s announcement extends a two-year agreement signed by the companies in July 2006 to explore whether cells taken from established human embryonic stem cell lines could be differentiated into functioning human hepatocytes and myocyctes. With further improvements in differentiation technologies, scientists will be able to better predict drug metabolism and potential liver and cardiac adverse side effects in humans much earlier in the drug discovery process, thus streamlining the drug development process and bringing safer medicines to the patient.