Smart Biotechnology Funding

by Jennifer Lahl, CBC President on June 17, 2008

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm in the Silicon Valley has just bet on adult stem cell research. While the amount of funding is still not known, we do know that they’ve invested in a new Bay Area company, iZumi Bio Inc.

Collaborative work with iZumi and San Francisco based J.David Gladstone Institutes, “will build on breakthrough methods of creating “induced pluripotent stem cells,” which are adult skin cells that can be coaxed to develop into many cell types. These cells might some day help to regenerate injured spinal cords or damaged hearts, scientists hope.

The technology sidesteps the ethical objections raised against research in human embryonic stem cells, which are derived from early stage human embryos that are often destroyed in the process. In addition, the technology may help avoid immune system rejection of replacement tissues, because an adult patient’s cell could be the source of stem cells that are a genetic match to that individual.

“We all feel the (induced pluripotent stem cells) technology has the potential to transform the regenerative medicine space,” said Thane Kreiner, chief executive officer of iZumi.””

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