BV 4 Portfolio Company iPierian Awarded Basic Biology Grant by California Institute of Regenerative Medicine to Study Cellular
South San Francisco, CA - April 29, 2010- iPierian, Inc., the leading company focused on creating new therapeutics discovered using cellular reprogramming and directed differentiation of patient cells, today announced that it has been awarded a three-year $1.5 million "Basic Biology Award" from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The grant will be used to fund the study of mechanisms of cellular reprogramming with the specific aim of enhancing the efficiency of reprogramming techniques.
"Patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) offer immediate utility for discovering new therapeutics to treat serious diseases, as well as future potential for cellular therapy. This research program is designed to provide valuable insights into the biological pathways and molecular targets involved in inducing pluripotent stem cells," said John P. Walker, chief executive officer of iPierian.
Through the grant, entitled "Cellular Reprogramming: Dissecting the Molecular Mechanism and Enhancing Efficiency," iPierian will identify and study small molecules that promote the reprogramming of human somatic cells to pluripotent cells. First, a large number of compounds will be screened using an established assay to detect early markers for the induction of pluripotency. Next, the mechanisms of action of confirmed lead compounds will be studied using a variety of genomic profiling, bioinformatics and RNAi based approaches. Candidate small molecules will then be used to generate iPS cell lines. A more detailed summary of the grant application can be found on the CIRM website at http://www.cirm.ca.gov/ReviewReports_RB2-01628.
Mr. Walker continued, "iPierian greatly appreciates and recognizes the significance of the support of stem cell research by the voters of the State of California. CIRM funding of this program will enable us to advance the science and our understanding of cellular reprogramming. CIRM's overall research funding enhances California's leadership in applying stem cell research to the discovery of new therapeutics and the potential of finding new treatment regimens for many diseases for which no effective treatments yet exist."
iPierian is a South San Francisco-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the industrialization of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology with the mission of creating new therapeutics through cellular reprogramming and directed differentiation of patient cells. iPierian is backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Highland Capital Partners, MPM Capital and FinTech Global Capital. The initial focus of the company is in neurodegeneration, particularly spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson's disease, in addition to metabolic disease. Our internationally-renowned scientific founders include leaders of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and the Gladstone Institute, whose diverse professional expertise support and inform the company's scientific direction, Drs. George Daley, Douglas Melton and Lee Rubin, who are also faculty members at Harvard University, and Dr. Deepak Srivastava, a faculty member at University of California, San Francisco.
Because iPS cells are believed to be able to grow indefinitely in culture and to differentiate into many cell types, iPS cells have great potential for disease research, preclinical drug testing and cell-based therapy. iPierian's approach places the patient at the forefront of the drug discovery process in order to reduce drug development time and increase the probability of success for drug candidates. iPierian plans to use precise human disease models to find new molecular targets and develop proprietary small molecule or biologic therapeutics.