California company buys facility for stem cell manufacturing

Allele CEO Jiwu Wang

Another deal is in the works in the U.S. for a cell manufacturing facility as contractors see the upside potential of the market. Allele Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals' purchase of a facility in San Diego, CA, to manufacture stem cells comes weeks after Japan's Fujifilm announced a deal to buy a Madison, WI, company that makes human cells, including stem cells.

Allele said it had closed on an 18,000-square-foot facility, located near its headquarters in San Diego, which it will use to produce human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) using Allele's proprietary synthetic mRNA platform. It says its technology generates hiPSCs without the random integration of foreign DNA or the use of whole virus or virus-based elements of some processes. It didn't say what it paid for the facility, which will produce the "footprint-free cells" for partners and its own work in the area of cellular therapeutics.

"This dedicated facility will help us to realize a number of our visions in bringing the benefits of pluripotent stem cells to society," Allele CEO Jiwu Wang said in a statement.

Tokyo-based Fujifilm said in March that it would pay more than $300 million for Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), a Wisconsin company that also has operations in Novato, CA, and has about 155 employees. It said that CDI's technology platform can produce industrial-scale quantities of human cells, including iPSCs, which have the ability to self-renew and become any cell type in the body.

CMO Lonza launched its Pluripotent Stem Cell Innovation Center a few years ago to offer stem cell production services. In 2013 it snagged a three-year, $6.9 million contract to provide stem cells for research to the National Institutes of Health Center for Regenerative Medicine.

here's the release