Norwegian stem cell company comes to Madison

12.22.06

MADISON, Wis. -- CellCura, a Norwegian biotechnology company, is opening a location in Madison, Wisconsin, in order to facilitate collaboration with WiCell Research Institute on stem cell-related research equipment and products, the company announced today.
 
The selection was made after an extensive international search of locations.  Madison was chosen for its overall quality of life, accessibility to world-class stem cell scientists at the University of Wisconsin, and proximity to WiCell.
CellCura is dedicated to the development of novel products for Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) and will utilize its technologies in close cooperation with WiCell to generate unique products for the stem cell market. The company will locate in UW-Madison’s University Research Park with a small team of key employees. CellCura has entered into a license agreement with the WiCell Research Institute for rights to stem cell technology developed by Dr. James Thomson, the founder of human embryonic stem cell research.

“I am extremely pleased that this company has chosen to locate near the scientific expertise at WiCell and the University of Wisconsin-Madison,” said Carl Gulbrandsen, Director of WiCell Research Institute. “This move demonstrates the value of Wisconsin’s leadership in human embryonic stem cell research.  We look forward to a partnership that will benefit CellCura and the entire Madison community.”

CellCura President Dag Dvergsten announced that Lesley Hutchins will serve as president of the Madison operation. CellCura and WiCell scientists have already been working together for months. The success of this research collaboration demonstrated a need for proximity to WiCell and the university.  

Tom Loftus, former U.S. Ambassador to Norway, played an important role in bringing CellCura executives to Madison to explore the opportunities for companies targeting the stem cell market.

“We are confident that our collaboration with WiCell will lead to a number of dedicated products that will be useful for stem cell scientists all over the world,” said Dvergsten.  “With more than 114 scientists at WiCell and the university working at the forefront of stem cell research, CellCura will have the opportunity to obtain unique information about the specialized needs of the stem cell research community.”

“The eagerness of WiCell to collaborate with a company like ours, and the tremendous infrastructure already in place for stem cell research made Madison an easy choice,” he added.

CellCura is the fourth stem cell company to start or locate in Madison in the last 2 years.   Thomson and his colleagues recently started two companies, Cellular Dynamics and Stem Cell Products, while Beth Donley and Gabriela Cezar started Stemina Biomarker Discovery.

About WiCell
The WiCell Research Institute is dedicated to expanding the frontiers of science and medicine by unlocking the potential of stem cells. As a subsidiary of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and a supporting organization of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WiCell conducts research, supports research at UW-Madison, hosts the National Stem Cell Bank, provides training for scientists, and offers educational outreach programs for K-12 students and the community.

About CellCura
CellCura AS is a Norwegian company dedicated to the development of novel equipment and products for use in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and stem cell research throughout the world. Its core technologies have been developed through 15 years of research and CellCura’s products will improve safety and efficiency in both clinical and research environments.