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News Release
September 18, 2012
Contact: Pegeen DosSantos
Phone: +1 781-533-5336

Merck Millipore and VeriStem™ Technologies to Develop Purification Methods for Large-scale Stem Cell Production
  • Collaboration to evaluate VeriStem’s™ monoclonal antibody technology for removal of undifferentiated stem cells from differentiated cells in culture
  • Will help accelerate the commercialization of safe and effective stem cell therapies
  • Purification products, validation protocols and regulatory documentation to be produced

September 18, 2012, Darmstadt, Germany — Merck Millipore, the Life Science division of Merck, and VeriStem™ Technologies Inc. today announced a collaboration to develop optimized technologies for the removal of undifferentiated stem cells from pluripotent stem cell cultures. The project will deliver scalable purification devices, validation methods and associated protocols for safe and effective delivery of large-scale stem cell therapies.

Large-scale “industrialized” production of stem cells is necessary to enable their advancement into human clinical trials and to effectively deliver the quantities required for drug discovery screening and lead optimization. To achieve this level of production, while adhering to rigorous quality standards, further progress is necessary in the areas of cell culture and scale-up, characterization, enrichment, and purification. Methods to remove undifferentiated cells that remain in culture and validate a process for consistent, robust removal are critical in the development of safe and effective delivery of stem cell-based therapies. Merck Millipore’s collaboration with VeriStem™ Technologies will address these issues and deliver a consistent and reproducible supply of cells.

“As more stem cell-based therapeutics progress towards clinical testing, the consistency, quality, and reproducibility of large-scale culture systems become an imperative,” notes Robert Shaw, Commercial Director of Merck Millipore’s Stem Cell Initiative. “The ability to ensure that a population of cells does not contain undifferentiated stem cells is critical to the success of clinical applications. The technologies developed as part of this collaboration will help enable this and move the field forward.”

“This collaboration brings together VeriStem’s™ expertise in the field of stem cells and Merck Millipore’s expertise in the development of purification platforms,” says Keith Wang, Chief Business Officer of VeriStem™ Technologies. “The success of large scale stem cell development will be catalyzed by such collaborations where innovative technologies and process expertise are brought together to develop unique solutions.”

Merck Millipore recently released data on the use of its Mobius® CellReady 3 Liter single-use bioreactor system for large scale production of stem cells.  This collaboration is an important step in the development of a platform of scalable, disposable production solutions to help enable manufacturers of cell-based therapies.

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About Merck Millipore
Merck Millipore is the Life Science division of Merck KGaA of Germany and offers a broad range of innovative, performance products, services and business relationships that enable our customers’ success in research, development and production of biotech and pharmaceutical drug therapies. Through dedicated collaboration on new scientific and engineering insights, and as one of the top three R&D investors in the Life Science Tools industry, Merck Millipore serves as a strategic partner to customers and helps advance the promise of life science.

Headquartered in Billerica, Massachusetts, the division has around 10,000 employees, operations in 67 countries and 2011 revenues of EUR 2.4 billion. Merck Millipore operates as EMD Millipore in the U.S. and Canada.

Note: Merck KGaA or Merck shall mean Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

About VeriStem™ Technologies Inc.
VeriStem™ Technologies is dedicated to developing technology and processes to enable safe stem cell therapies and is positioned as a leading company in the stem cell industries transformation from research to successful clinical application. The vast promise of stem cell therapies can not to be realized until methods to produce safe and effective therapies, free from undifferentiated cells responsible for formation of teratomas, are developed and applied under the rigorous controls required for biopharmaceutical manufacturing. VeriStem™ Technologies was established to provide just such enabling technologies and applications support to advance the promise of stem cell therapies.

VeriStem™ was founded in 2009 by W. Alan Moore and Keith Wang, with the aim of bringing stem cells into widespread and safe use. Much of the company’s core technology was developed at Singapore’s Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI), a national research institute funded and managed by Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). VeriStem™ was spun-out to commercialize the new technologies discovered at the BTI by Drs. Miranda Yap, Andre Choo and Steven Oh, who are credited with revolutionary discovery of the processes capable of destroying undifferentiated stem cells. This prestigious team is leading the on-going management of the stem cell programs within BTI and programs funded by VeriStem™ Technologies.