California venture will use personalized stem cell technology to battle disease
Mountain View, CA – August 6, 2008 - iZumi Bio, Inc., announced today that John T. Dimos, Ph.D., first author of the landmark Science paper “Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Generated from Patients with ALS Can Be Differentiated into Motor Neurons,” will join its team of scientists translating induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell research to patient benefits. Dimos’ work demonstrates the potential for iPSderived cells in regenerative medicine.
iPS cells are “reprogrammed” adult cells that have similar applications and potential to those of human embryonic stem (ES) cells, yet do not raise the same ethical concerns and can be generated in a patientspecific manner to maintain the diseasecausing genetic profile while avoiding immune rejection.
Dimos’ Science publication (online 31 July 2008; 10.1126/science.1158799) demonstrates that iPS cells derived from an individual patient can be differentiated into motor neurons, the cell type affected in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Largescale, standardized production of such iPSderived cells could be used for a variety of applications including models for drug discovery and cellbased therapies. Dimos conducted his work as a postdoctoral fellow in Kevin Eggan's lab at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (www.hsci.harvard.edu). He earned his Ph.D. inMolecular Biology at Princeton University in Ihor Lemischka’s laboratory, where he studied what defines a stem cell at the gene expression level.
“We are delighted that John has chosen iZumi to develop his groundbreaking research into practical regenerative medicine applications,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., President and CEO of iZumi. “We are committed to working with the most talented scientists worldwide to ensure that the enabling iPS technology benefits patients.”
“There is broad interest in translating this basic research into discovery paradigms aimed at patient benefits,” said Dimos. “iZumi has all the elements in place to successfully lead this translation including firstclass investors, scientific leaders and collaborators; an experienced management team; and a passion for improving human health. I am honored to join the team.”
iZumi Bio, Inc. was founded in 2007 and is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and Highland Capital Partners. iZumi is using the power of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) to transform drug discovery and regenerative medicine. In June, 2008, iZumi announced a broad regenerative medicine and cardiovascular disease partnership with The Gladstone Institutes. The name iZumi, which means “fountain of youth,” was chosen to honor the Japanese origins of iPS technology. iZumi is located in Mountain View, California.