Roche and the Innovative Medicines Initiative join forces to promote use of Nobel Prize-winning stem cell technology

RocheRoche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) and the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) announced the launch of StemBANCC, a new academic–industry partnership that unites ten pharmaceutical companies and 23 academic institutions. Initiated and coordinated by Roche and managed by Oxford University, StemBANCC aims to use human induced pluripotent stem cells as research tools for drug discovery with the goal of using this ground-breaking new technology to develop human disease models and enhance drug development.

Martin Graf, Head of the Stem Cell Platform and coordinator of the project at Roche said, "The aim of StemBANCC is to generate and characterise 1,500 high quality human induced pluripotent stem cell lines derived from 500 patients that can be used by researchers to study a range of diseases, including diabetes and dementia. The cell lines will help implement patient models that will facilitate the drug development process thanks to the possibility of reproducing the disease mechanism in vitro."

The research resulting in the creation of the first induced pluripotent stem cells was a major scientific breakthrough by scientists John Gurdon (Cambridge University) and Shinya Yamanaka (Kyoto University) who were awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Most adult cells can only divide to produce other cells of the same type. For example, skin cells can only make other skin cells, and liver cells can only make other liver cells. However, in recent years researchers have developed a way of reprogramming ordinary adult cells to create stem cells that can be used to generate any kind of cell. These induced pluripotent stem cells offer a supply of different kinds of human cell such as cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, or neurons that can be used for a broad range of in vitro tests in research and early stage drug development.

Because these cell lines are derived directly from real patients, they include the genes that may be implicated in diseases of interest. Moreover, such cell lines have the advantage of being developed from samples that have been obtained from accurately screened and defined groups of patients. Having a solid database with numerous patients and accurate data on their disease is expected to enable a new level of insight into the disease mechanisms.

Roche scientists recognised the potential of induced pluripotent stem cells more than three years ago. Since then they have worked with partners at Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital to create over 100 human induced pluripotent stem cell lines that can be used to model cardiovascular and neurological diseases.

The StemBANCC project will focus on peripheral nervous system disorders (especially pain), central nervous system disorders (dementias), neurodysfunctional diseases (migraine, autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder), and diabetes. The project will also investigate the use of human induced pluripotent stem cells for identifying drug targets and biomarkers, screening potential drug treatments, and toxicology testing.

About Innovative Medicines Initiative
The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is Europe's largest public-private initiative aiming to speed up the development of better and safer medicines for patients. IMI supports collaborative research projects and builds networks of industrial and academic experts in order to boost pharmaceutical innovation in Europe.

IMI is a joint undertaking between the European Union and the pharmaceutical industry association EFPIA.

Related news article:

About Roche
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world's largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche's personalized healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2011, Roche had over 80,000 employees worldwide and invested over 8 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 42.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan.

Most Popular Now

Fasenra (benralizumab) receives US FDA approval fo…

AstraZeneca and its global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Fasenra (benralizumab)...

Pfizer receives FDA approval for SUTENT® (sunitini…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new indication expanding the use of SUTENT® (sunitinib malate) to include...

Novartis' Ultibro® Breezhaler® significantly impro…

Novartis today announced positive results from the FLASH** study examining the safety and efficacy of directly switching chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pati...

New Novartis Entresto® real world evidence data sh…

Novartis has announced new results from a real-world database study of patients in Germany prescribed Entresto® (sacubitril/valsartan) for heart failure with reduced ejec...

FDA approves pill with sensor that digitally track…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug in the U.S. with a digital ingestion tracking system. Abilify MyCite (aripiprazole tablets with sensor) ...

Scientists find natural mimetics of anti-cancer …

Researchers from the Biogerontology Research Foundation, Insilico Medicine, Life Extension and other institutions announce the publication of a landmark study in the jour...

Novartis, ASCP and ACS join forces to fight cancer…

Novartis, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) will work together to devise a common approach to improve access to ca...

World's smallest tape recorder is built from micro…

Through a few clever molecular hacks, researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have converted a natural bacterial immune system into a microscopic data recorder...

Using social media big data to combat prescription…

Researchers at Dartmouth, Stanford University, and IBM Research, conducted a critical review of existing literature to determine whether social media big data can be used...

Discovery of a promising medication for amyotrophi…

Researchers from the University of Montréal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) and the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) at the University of Calgary have discovered a medi...

Sclerosis medicine can fight multi-resistant bacte…

Encountering bacteria with innocent names such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacteriaceae can lead to hospitalisation and - in a worst-case scenario - can also be l...

Mushrooms are full of antioxidants that may have a…

Mushrooms may contain unusually high amounts of two antioxidants that some scientists suggest could help fight aging and bolster health, according to a team of Penn State...

Pharmaceutical Companies

[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Z ]