CELLULAR DYNAMICS INTERNATIONAL LAUNCHES OPSIS THERAPEUTICS TO DEVELOP CELL THERAPIES FOR TREATMENT OF RETINAL DISEASES
MADISON, WIS, September 28, 2016 – Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. (CDI), a FUJIFILM company and the leading developer and manufacturer of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) products, today announced a new venture, named Opsis Therapeutics. Formed on July 31, Opsis Therapeutics is focused on discovering and developing novel medicines to treat patients suffering from retinal diseases. The Opsis Therapeutics team brings deep expertise and a track record of developing breakthrough technologies and building next-generation cell therapeutic programs. The venture has been founded in partnership with David Gamm, M.D., Ph.D., a world leader and pioneer in the differentiation and transplantation of iPSC-derived retinal cells.
“Acquired and inherited diseases of the retina, such as age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, afflict tens of millions of people worldwide,” said Dr. Gamm, who also serves as the company’s Chief Scientific Officer. “However, there currently are no therapeutic options available that can broadly mitigate or restore the permanent loss of vision and blindness these conditions can cause. At Opsis Therapeutics, we see promise in a variety of new approaches. For example, over the past decade, it has become feasible to generate new photoreceptors from induced pluripotent stem cells and transplant them into the diseased retina, with additional advances anticipated in the future. Our goal is to build on this progress, move in a safe yet determined manner toward new therapeutic strategies, and ultimately, to improve the standard of care for patients impacted by retinal diseases.”
Opsis Therapeutics is at the forefront of scientific research on retinal cell manufacturing and its application in the treatment of retinal diseases. The company will bring together a cross-disciplinary team internationally recognized advisors and development partners with combined expertise in iPSC manufacture, iPSC differentiation into retinal lineages, retinal cell biology, preclinical modeling of retinal disease, and sub-retinal surgery. The company is pioneering new approaches to treating retinal diseases and their associated vision loss, and developing a pipeline of therapeutic candidates.
CDI made the initial seed investment in Opsis Therapeutics, and additional investment will be made as needed for full-scale development. Therapeutic candidates will be developed in conjunction with CDI’s world-leading position in human leukocyte antigen (HLA) “haplobanking,” which enables the therapeutic cells to be matched to the patient’s immune system, potentially avoiding the need to co-administer immune suppressing drugs. In addition, Opsis Therapeutics will benefit from CDI’s track record of successful development of cells for ultimate therapeutics use, such as the company’s ongoing contract with the National Eye Institute to manufacture clinically compatible iPSC-derived human retinal pigment epithelial cells.
“Over the past decade CDI has established the leading platform for the development and manufacture of iPSC-based cell therapeutics, including the differentiation of iPSC into retinal lineages under cGMP conditions,” said Emile Nuwaysir, Ph.D., who will serve as President of Opsis Therapeutics while also maintaining his current role as President and Chief Operating Officer of CDI. “To ensure genetic matching of iPSC-derived cell therapeutics with the patient, and to reduce or prevent tissue rejection, we have built and continue to expand a cGMP iPSC bank from HLA homozygous donors. This bank will provide Opsis with an ideal starting material for the company’s therapeutics pipeline, and a major advantage in the development of first-in-class cell therapies for the treatment of retinal diseases.”
About Opsis Therapeutics
Opsis Therapeutics is a company focused on discovering and developing new medicines to restore vision to patients suffering from retinal diseases. By combining recent innovations in induced pluripotent cell (iPSC) manufacturing, retinal cell differentiation, functional biomaterials, pre-clinical models of retinal disease, and cell therapeutic delivery techniques, Opsis Therapeutics is developing a comprehensive pipeline of breakthrough treatments targeted at retinal indications. Founded and advised by world experts in retinal disease and cell manufacturing, Opsis Therapeutics is a partnership with Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. (CDI), a FUJIFILM company, and is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information, please visit http://opsistherapeutics.com.
About Cellular Dynamics International
Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), a FUJIFILM company, is a leading developer and supplier of human cells used in drug discovery, toxicity testing, and regenerative medicine applications. Leveraging technology that can be used to create induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and differentiated tissue-specific cells from any individual, CDI is committed to advancing life science research and transforming the therapeutic development process in order to fundamentally improve human health. The company’s inventoried iCell® products and donor-specific MyCell® Products are available in the quantity, quality, purity, and reproducibility required for drug and cell therapy development. For more information please visit www.cellulardynamics.com.
FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation, Tokyo, Japan brings continuous innovation and leading-edge products to a broad spectrum of industries, including: healthcare, with medical systems, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics; graphic systems; highly functional materials, such as flat panel display materials; optical devices, such as broadcast and cinema lenses; digital imaging; and document products. These are based on a vast portfolio of chemical, mechanical, optical, electronic, software and production technologies. In the year ended March 31, 2016, the company had global revenues of $22.1 billion, at an exchange rate of 112.54 yen to the dollar. Fujifilm is committed to environmental stewardship and good corporate citizenship. For more information, please visit: www.fujifilmholdings.com.
All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their registered owners.