Addressing unmet needs

Posted: 29 May 2009 | Joydeep Goswami, Vice President/General Manager, Primary and Stem Systems Group, Invitrogen | No comments yet

Joydeep Goswami from Invitrogen, who provide essential life science technologies for disease research, drug discovery, and commercial bioproduction, talks to us about current and future developments at the company.

Joydeep Goswami from Invitrogen, who provide essential life science technologies for disease research, drug discovery, and commercial bioproduction, talks to us about current and future developments at the company.

Joydeep Goswami from Invitrogen, who provide essential life science technologies for disease research, drug discovery, and commercial bioproduction, talks to us about current and future developments at the company.

1. How do you think the merger with Applied Biosystems will strengthen Invitrogen’s product portfolio for the Stem Cells marketplace?

Applied Biosystems (AB) is an industry leader in genetic and epigenetic characterisation of cells. Given the increasing need to fully characterise the cells’ stage of differentiation, potency and health of stem cells and progeny, pathogen testing, identity testing, and molecular/ proteomic analysis of cells, AB brings a highly relevant set of technologies and products to help scientists do this effectively and efficiently. We believe that the combined portfolios of Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems provide Life Technologies with the broadest set of tools for stem cell research in the industry.

2. Do you have any new products lined up and which applications will benefit most from them?

Life Technologies targets development of products and technologies along the entire workflow of stem cell research and applications. The workflow broadly includes the following steps:

  • Isolation
  • Characterisation
  • Expansion
  • Differentiation
  • Engineering of stem cells.

We have a broad range of programs that target unmet needs of customers in these areas. These customers range from basic research to drug discovery (efficacy and toxicology) to cell therapy. A few examples of things we have recently introduced or are planning to introduce:

a) We are introducing tools that make it easier to perform footprint free derivation of iPS cells, which should help both basic research and therapy customers

b) We have just introduced a completely xeno-free system (KSR® XF) to derive and grow both human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and human induced pluripotent cells (hiPSC)

c) Similarly we have the first and only serum free medium for mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that actually improves the performance and health of cells over serum based culture methods (StemPro® MSC SFM).

d) Completely novel ways to engineer stem cells to help them “talk” to scientists by allowing simple site-specific insertion of multiple genetic elements into a cell’s genome (Jump-in vectors, StemPro® TARGETTM system). These new technologies have the potential to completely revolutionise the way stem and primary cells are used in drug discovery

e) Novel cell systems such as rat alkPhos MSCs, Oct4 GFP hESCs, human primary neural cells and precursors, amongst others

f) A novel technology to make stem cell therapies safer by removing undifferentiated hESCs from differentiated populations (Dynabeads® SSEA-4).

3. Which of the new products do you think will have the greatest impact on the marketplace?

All the products we have or are planning to introduce address key unmet needs or pain points that our customers have across research, drug discovery and therapy. Most of our products are based on a fundamental platform that allows for easy translation of these technologies from bench to bedside. These platforms embody the basic concepts of scalability, volume productivity, cGMP grade manufacturing/ QC and 510K/ DMF compatible reagents. This definitely helps out our cell therapy customers who don’t have to waste their time overhauling their systems for manufacturing cells once they are in the clinic. Similarly, our research based products make it easier for scientists to grow and manipulate cells, and help them focus more on the science rather than on developing reagents. On the drug discovery side, we are bringing more physiologically relevant cell models and assays to our customers by combining our ability to develop novel human cell types and our cell engineering capabilities.

In addition to our products, we also provide services that help our drug discovery and cell therapy customers that enable them to develop customised solutions for their specific needs. Examples of these services include development of customised cell types and assays, novel solutions for isolation of specific cell types, development of customised media to grow and differentiate cells.

4. What are your main goals for 2010 and the future?

Our goal is to continue to work to develop solutions for research, therapy and drug discovery customers. Our focus will be in the areas of iPSC and neurobiology, where there is a big need to bring in standardised solutions to both research and drug discovery customers. We intend to bring several new human neural cell types to the marketplace to provide more physiologically relevant systems to our drug discovery customers. We will also be expanding our products and services to the cell therapy community.

5. What do you think gives you an edge over your competitors?

There are three core areas of competitive advantage that Life Technologies has over its competitors:

a) Our investment in people, including top R&D talent, who are key in developing cutting edge products and services for customers

b) Our access to key platform technologies that are available and being developed across Invitrogen, which allows us to develop better solutions for our customers faster

c) Our tight relationships with customers through our research, sales and marketing channels, which allow us to better understand customer needs and address them appropriately.

6. How do you believe attitudes are evolving towards Stem Cell research?

Stem Cell research is now fully in the mainstream science area. In the United States, there has been a tremendous change in attitudes over the last six months, especially in the area of embryonic stem cell research, given the new administration in Washington. This has had a ripple effect in many pharmaceutical companies that had previously not ventured into this area. Even in other countries around the world, new discoveries such as induced pluripotency, which allows any cell to be converted to an ES like cell, have convinced both researchers and governments that had not previously invested in stem cell research to do so. Given the publicity of all this investment, the lay population is also very keenly aware of Stem Cell research and it’s potential.