Monday, June 03, 2013

Cellular Dynamics: California Stem Cell Agency Recipient Plans $57 Million IPO

A Wisconsin firm that is the beneficiary of more than $16 million from the California stem cell agency today announced that it intends to go public to raise $57.3 million for its iPS cell ventures.

Jamie Thomson
UCSB photo
The firm is Cellular Dynamics International, Inc., and was co-founded by internationally known stem cell scientist Jamie Thomson of the University of Wisconsin, who is currently the company's chief scientific officer. Thomson is also a professor at UC Santa Barbara, where he is co-director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering.

In March, the California stem cell agency awarded a $16 million grant to Cellular Dynamics to derive three iPS cell lines from 3,000 individuals as part of the agency's stem cell banking initiative. (Here is a link to the grant review summary.)

The company said in its SEC filings that it also will be the prime subcontractor on a $10 million grant that the Coriell Institute for Medical Research of Camden, N.J., received in the agency's stem cell banking round. Cellular Dynamics said some of the funds from the IPO will be used to complete its California laboratory in leased space at the Buck Institute in Novato, north of San Francisco.

Cellular Dynamics was founded in 2004 and sold its first commercial product in 2010. It reported revenues of $6.6 million in 2012 and losses of $22.3 million. It has 115 full-time and part-time employees worldwide.

The company said,
“During 2011 and 2012, we had three large biopharmaceutical customers that individually accounted for greater than 10% of our total revenue in one or both years. Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) accounted for 10% of total revenue in 2011 and 18% of total revenue in 2012. Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. (Roche) accounted for 13% of total revenue in 2011 and GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) accounted for 11% of our total revenue in 2012.”
Cellular Dynamics also said in its filings,
“Our total revenue grew from $2.6 million in 2011 to $6.6 million in 2012, an increase of 154%. This growth was driven by a 247% increase in sales of our iCell products which grew from $1.5 million in 2011 to $5.2 million in 2012. At December 31, 2011, our backlog of revenue expected to be recognized in 2012 was $1.1 million. At December 31, 2012, our backlog of revenue expected to be recognized in 2013 had grown to $4.1 million.
“For the three months ended March 31, 2013 our total revenue was $2.4 million, an increase of 109% over the corresponding period in 2012. This growth was driven primarily by an increase in iCell product sales, which grew from $0.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2012 to $1.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2013, an increase of 173%.”
Paul Knoepfler of UC Davis, writing on his blog, touched on some of the aspects of the IP issues involving Cellular Dynamics and  Japanese researcher Shinya Yamanaka, who won the Nobel Prize last year for discovering how to reprogram adult stem cells into pluripotent cells (the iPS process).

 Knoepfler wrote,
"A recent question is the issue of who has the intellectual property (IP) rights to iPS cell technology. People have told me in the past that they wondered if Cellular Dynamics has unambiguous rights to develop all of these iPS cell-based products."
Knoepfler also wrote,
 “This (the IPO) looks to be very interesting and could transform the field as it develops.”
News coverage today of the IPO filing was light, but is more expected to surface tomorrow. Here is a link to the only story that had surfaced as of this writing. 

No price or date has yet been set for the offering.
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