MADISON, Wis., Aug. 12 Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) announced today the appointment of Leroy Hood, M.D., Ph.D., and George Church, Ph.D., two of the world's leading scientists in molecular biotechnology and genomics, to the company's scientific advisory board. Hood and Church join stem cell pioneer James Thomson, V.M.D., Ph.D., to advise the company on strategic plans for developing induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells into drug discovery tools and, eventually, personalized therapeutics.
"Stem cells have the potential to transform 21st century medicine -- perhaps in a manner similar to antibiotics in the 20th century," commented Dr. Hood. "I am excited about the pioneering work of Cellular Dynamics in the production of iPS cells from individual human patients and the expansion of these stems cells into tissues relevant to the study of the individual's disease."
"The commercial opportunity associated with human iPS cells is rapidly becoming complementary and/or competitive with existing markets for small molecule drugs, cord blood banking, embryonic cell research, regulatory genomic predictions, personalized toxicity and efficacy testing, and so on," said Dr. Church. "Significant demand for these cells already exists, and I am impressed with the scale, quality assurance and level of industrialization CDI has achieved and their plans to meet future demand."
"George Church and Lee Hood are thought leaders with broad experience in bringing discoveries out of their academic labs into the world where those discoveries can make a real impact on people's lives. Both have been key players in the genomic revolution, and we will look to them for creative insights into the impact of iPS cells in personalized medicine. It is an honor that they have chosen to work with us, and I am looking forward to interacting with them at our SAB meetings," said Dr. James Thomson, CDI Chief Scientific Officer. Thomson also serves as director of Regenerative Biology at the Morgridge Institute for Research and professor of anatomy at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
"We are excited to welcome Dr. Hood and Dr. Church to CDI's Scientific Advisory Board. Lee and George are recognized as leading pioneers in the rapidly growing field of personalized medicine. Coupling their expertise with Dr. Thomson's provides an added level of scientific vision that will advance the company's goals in the development and delivery of iPS cell-based drug discovery tools and personalized medicine therapies," said Bob Palay, CEO and Chairman of CDI.
Dr. Leroy Hood is co-founder and president of the Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle. He pioneered a multi-disciplinary approach to better understand the complexity of biological systems and medicine. He holds 15 patents in the biomedical field, including for the DNA sequencer, which revolutionized automated DNA sequencing and played a critical role in the mapping carried out in the Human Genome Project. Dr. Hood has won several major awards for his contributions in medicine and biotechnology, including the 2008 Pittcon Heritage Award; 2007 election to the Inventors Hall of Fame for the automated DNA sequencer; the 2006 Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment; the 2004 Biotechnology Heritage Award; the 2003 Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) Award for Excellence in Molecular Diagnostics; the 2003 Lemelson-MIT Prize for Innovation and Invention; and the 2002 Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology. He has played a role in founding more than 14 biotechnology companies, including Amgen and Applied Biosystems.
Dr. George Church is professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School; director of the Lipper Center for Computational Genetics, DOE Genomes to Life Center, NIH Center for Excellence in Genomic Science, and the Personal Genome Project; as well as member of the Wyss Institute and Broad Institute. He pioneered the first direct genomic sequencing method, which led to the first commercial genome sequence, and to second-generation sequencing -- e.g. open-source Polonator.org. Dr. Church has 34 patents including molecular multiplexing and tags, homologous recombination methods, and DNA array synthesizers. He has advised 24 companies, including founding LS9, JouleBio, and Knome.
About Cellular Dynamics International, Inc.
Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. (CDI) is a leading developer of next-generation stem cell technologies for drug development and personalized medicine applications. CDI harnesses the power of pluripotent stem cells and their ability to differentiate into any cell type for world-class drug development tools. In addition, it is the leader in iPS technology, the production of pluripotent stem cell lines from adult tissue. CDI was founded in 2004 by Dr. James Thomson, a pioneer in human embryonic stem cell research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Tactics II Ventures, a Wisconsin-based venture capital fund. CDI's facilities are located in Madison, Wisconsin.
SOURCE Cellular Dynamics International (CDI)