ILS, Stemina: ILS and Stemina Biomarker Discovery announce exclusive partnership for human stem cell based toxicology testing

The North American partnership creates a strong combination of development and commercialization for an important developmental toxicology testing platform

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. and MADISON, WI. – November 1, 2011 – ILS and Stemina Biomarker Discovery, Inc. announced today that the two companies have entered into a strategic partnership to advance the Stemina’s stem cell based toxicology testing platform, beginning with devTOX. ILS will exclusively distribute Stemina’s platform in North America and the two companies will work jointly to further develop the platform.

DevTOX uses human embryonic stem (hES) cells to evaluate pharmaceuticals, chemicals and formulations such as cosmetics for their potential to cause birth defects if a woman is exposed during pregnancy. DevTOX is a highly reliable model of human developmental toxicological exposure with impressive accuracy in blinded studies of chemicals whose effect is known. DevTOX is a remarkable improvement when compared to existing tests for determining the potential of compounds to cause birth defects. Existing rat and mouse models are approximately 60% predictive of the effect of a known chemical on human development. The development of the cell-based devTOX is also well timed with the increasing restrictions on the use of animals for toxicity assessment worldwide and the drive for alternatives to animal testing.

Stemina developed devTOX by exposing hES cells to a set of drugs, such as Thalidomide, whose effect on the developing human embryo is known. Stemina used its proprietary metabolomics platform technology to analyze the metabolic response of the cells to create a signature of biomarkers which are indicative of developmental toxicity against which new compounds are evaluated. The hES cells, isolated in 1998 by Dr. James Thomson at the University of Wisconsin, are approved for use in the United States and the European Union and offer a unique opportunity to understand human development and the impact of birth defect causing agents on the developing embryo in a way never before possible.

Stemina studies the response of hES cells and various cells derived from hES cells, such as heart cells and neurons, to drugs or disease conditions. “We are excited about our partnership with ILS in North America. Stemina’s cutting edge hES cell based technology combined with ILS’s more than 26 years of experience in toxicology and safety testing is a terrific combination,” says Stemina CEO, Elizabeth Donley.

ILS provides innovative research solutions in the toxicology, genetic and molecular, histopathology, as well as environmental and information science fields. ILS has a flexible and comprehensive service model that provides an entire suite of services consisting of study design, execution, sample analysis and scientific interpretation/dissemination. Stem Cells represent a major advancement in the field of science and hold the potential to improve lives in current and future generations. At ILS’ state-of-the art
facilities in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, Stemina and ILS will perform the devTOX assay and develop additional innovative technologies for evaluating the safety of compounds.

“ILS is very excited about its strategic partnership with Stemina,” says Dr. Tom Goldsworthy, CEO of ILS. “Our partnership with Stemina and the development of a common platform fulfills our mission of advancing science to improve lives.”

“The partnership offers an opportunity for unique approaches to assessing the safety of candidate drugs, chemicals and consumer products,” says Sam Tetlow, Chief Business Officer of ILS. “Working with Stemina, we will assure that our clients have access to the most innovative technology for evaluating the toxicity and safety of compounds.”

About ILS

Advancing Science, Improving Lives. ILS is a leading life sciences services company that provides research support to federal and commercial clients. Among ILS’ core capabilities are investigative toxicology, genetic toxicology, molecular biology, histopathology, and environmental and information science services. These services are provided to a host of clients, including the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Based in Research Triangle Park, NC, ILS was founded by Chairman Dr. Thomas. K. Rao in 1985 and has 170 employees. For more information about ILS, visit

About Stemina

Stemina Biomarker Discovery was founded in 2007 and is located in the Madison, Wisconsin. Stemina’s cell based assays arise from the strategic convergence of two cutting edge technologies: human stem cells and metabolomics. Stemina uses its mass spectrometry based metabolomics platform to analyze the small molecules secreted by cells in response to drugs, chemical compounds and other contaminants. Stemina is a recognized leader in stem cell based models for toxicology and safety. For more information about Stemina, visit


Sam C. Tetlow Chief Business Officer ILS, Inc. (919) 281-1110 x748

Elizabeth Donley Chief Executive Officer Stemina Biomarker Discovery (608) 577-9209