From tools to therapies: Stem cell maker CDI takes one small step

By Jeff Engel, Xconomy

Cellular Dynamics International CEO Bob Palay envisions a world where the eyes of a person going blind from macular degeneration can be healed by implanting healthy retinal cells that were engineered from the patient’s own blood or skin.

That scenario will still require at least several years and untold millions of research dollars, but it’s not as far-fetched as it might at first sound. Indeed, Palay believes science is finally on the verge of unlocking the door to regenerative medicine—and he thinks his company’s manufactured cells hold the key.

Until now, Cellular Dynamics (NASDAQ: ICEL) has been solely a provider of cells to use as research tools, but it recently took a small step toward creating a therapy with its first development deal. The emphasis is on “small,” however: the conservative company still prefers to play backup to its research partners—not lead the charge into regenerative medicine. “Our model is to make great cells and put them in the hands of great researchers to do great science,” Palay tells Xconomy. Read more …