Fate Therapeutics Expands its Stem Cell Empire Into Canada
(Page 2 of 2)
someday be useful for regenerating the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells that are damaged in diabetes and for regenerating heart cells that have been damaged in a heart attack.
“The Verio group has a lot of experience in identifying stem cells in the body and finding pathways to modulate them,” says Fate Therapeutics spokeswoman Jessica Yingling. “There really aren’t that many people out there taking the stem cell modulation approach, and it seemed like a perfect fit.”
Verio was founded in 2008, and raised a small seed round of financing of about $1 million, Yingling says. CEO Frank Gleeson will stay on board with Fate to run the Ottawa branch, and Verio’s scientific co-founders, Rudnicki and Lynn Arthur Megeney, will be retained on the Fate scientific advisory board, Yingling says. Those two join a stellar group of scientific founders that includes Ding of The Scripps Research Institute, Randall Moon of the University of Washington, Rudolf Jaenisch of MIT and the Whitehead Institute, and Leonard Zon and David Scadden of Harvard Medical School.
By getting a toehold in Canada, Fate will also be able to access the support from the Canadian government—which hasn’t enacted the same kinds of restrictions that hung over the stem cell field in the U.S. during the last decade. Gleeson has a lot of contacts in Canada as a founding venture capitalist of a dozen biotech companies there, and a seat on the board of directors of the Stem Cell Network of Canada. So I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Fate is able to secure some support for its research from the friendly taxpayers to our north.
“Canada has been very advanced in stem cell research for a long time,” Yingling says. “They have a strong history, and the government has been very supportive of stem cell research.”