Fujifilm Holdings to make US$307m purchase of Cellular Dynamics


With the transaction Fujfilm gains entry into iPSC drug discovery services

Japan's Fujifilm Holdings is to acquire Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), a US developer of fully functioning human cells in large quantities, for approximately US$307m.

Under the deal, which has been approved by the Boards of both companies, Fujifilm will make a tender offer for CDI for $16.5 per share.

After completion of the deal, CDI will continue to run its operations in Madison, Wisconsin and Novato, California as a consolidated subsidiary of Fujifilm.

The acquisition will allow Fujifilm to gain entry into the area of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) drug discovery services.

CDI was founded in 2004 and had global revenue of $16.7m and 155 employees as of 31 December 2014.

The company's technology enables the production of high-quality human cells, including iPSCs, on an industrial scale. These are used for drug discovery and screening, to test the safety and efficacy of small molecule and biological drug candidates, for stem cell banking and in the research and development of cellular therapeutics.

The company's proprietary iCell product catalogue encompasses 12 different iPSC based cell types, including iCell Cardomyocytes, iCell Hepatocytes, and iCell Neurons, which CDI sells to biopharmaceutical companies.

CDI's technology was chosen by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to establish iPS disease cell banks. The company recently completed two cGMP-compliant iPS cell lines with HLA types which may reduce the likelihood of transplant immune rejection.

The company is also developing iPS cells for preclinical studies focused on dry age-related macular degeneration for a National Eye Institute programme.

Tapping into technologies and know-how accumulated as a result of leading the field of photographic films, Fujifilm has developed recombinant peptides that can be shaped into a variety of forms for use as a cellular scaffold in regenerative medicine.

The company has been strengthening its presence in regenerative medicine over several years and acquired a majority of shares of Japan Tissue Engineering (J-TEC) last December.

Shigetaka Komori, Chairman and CEO of Fujifilm, said combining the technologies and know-how of both companies would enable Fujifilm to 'seek synergies and efficiencies to be more competitive in drug discovery and regenerative medicine'.

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Robert Palay, Chairman and CEO of CDI, added that combining CDI's technology with Fujifilm's technologies, know-how, and resources 'brings us ever closer to realising the promise of discovering better, safer medicines and developing new cell therapies based on iPSCs'.