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Millipore Gives $150K to Scripps' Loring to Study miRNA-Induced Stem Cell Pluripotency

SAN DIEGO – Millipore said today that it has awarded Jeanne Loring, a prominent stem cell researcher at the Scripps Research Institute, a $150,000 grant to support her research in the area of microRNA-based induction of pluripotency in stem cells.
The award was made through the Millipore Foundation, a Millipore program that offers grants for K–12 science education, bioscience research, and local community support.
Millipore Chairman and CEO Martin Madaus made the award presentation today at the BIO International Conference, being held here this week.
Under the terms of the agreement, Millipore will provide Loring’s lab increments of $50,000 a year for three years with the option to renew the funding each year at its discretion, the company said.
The award is the second major stem cell research award from the Millipore Foundation, and the first such award to a West coast research institute. In September, the Millipore Foundation awarded a five-year, $500,000 grant to the Harvard Stem Cell Institute to fund HSCI’s Seed Grant Program, which provides early-stage gap funding for innovative projects in any field of stem cell research.
According to Loring, the grant differs from traditional sponsored research in that she was allowed to choose the research topic, and there are no intellectual property or milestone obligations associated with the award.
“Even though it is for a particular project, there aren’t any strings attached,” Loring told Biotech Transfer Week, a GenomeWeb News sister publication. “I see this more as a gift to promote the research, rather than a grant to do something for them, because there are no obligations.”
Loring added that “in both our minds, I think this is no-strings attached support for research in an area [Millipore] feels very strongly needs to be developed.”
In a statement, Madaus said that “through this grant, we are able to support innovative stem cell research projects that we believe may be the key to solving a number of human health issues.”
Specifically, Loring said that her proposed project would seek to discover a way to treat cells with miRNAs “that either directs them to differentiate in a particular way, or to induce pluripotency. A lot of people are interested in miRNAs for a lot of applications,” Loring said. “This is certainly one of them and Millipore is aware of it.”
Loring, whose relationship with Millipore dates back to a partnership with Chemicon – which Millipore added as a business unit when it acquired Serologicals in 2006 – said that her group has maintained an active collaboration with Millipore’s scientists. Researchers from Millipore and Loring’s lab are currently preparing for publication a paper describing the use of Millipore filter systems for human embryonic stem cell growth, she said.

The full version of this story appears in the June 18 issue of Biotech Transfer Week.

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