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."