NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Invitrogen today announced that it has made a minority investment in cell therapy firm Q Therapeutics.
The amount of the investment and the stake Invitrogen now holds in the Salt Lake City-based biopharmaceutical company were not disclosed.
Privately held Q Therapeutics is developing cell-based therapies for a variety of central nervous system and neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The firm’s approach involves obtaining purified populations of differentiated CNS cells, growing them in culture, and then injecting them in the patient. Clinical trials on the company’s treatment for transverse myelitis are scheduled to begin at Johns Hopkins University in 2009.
“By investing early in a company such as Q Therapeutics, we can increase our learning around the types of tools such companies need, which will not only allow us to maximize our technology portfolio, but also help us move the field more quickly toward groundbreaking therapies,” Paul Grossman, senior vice president for strategy and corporate development at Invitrogen, said in a statement.
Invitrogen Chairman and CEO Greg Lucier said in the fall that more of the firm’s R&D dollars are being shifted from its traditional molecular biology tools to its Cell Culture Systems business segment.
“We are putting the cell at the center of our strategy — [it is] the key link between our BioDiscovery and Cell Culture Systems segments,” Lucier said during the firm’s third-quarter conference call. “While we continue to innovate in molecular biology elements, we see more and more work being done by scientists to put biology in context. That context being the cell,” he said.
In keeping with this strategy, Invitrogen last month announced that it would buy primary cell provider CellzDirect for around $57 million in cash.