Cellular Dynamics International Inc. has overcome a technical hurdle that has until now prevented the use of stem cell technologies to develop high throughput cell-based screens for preclinical toxicity studies. The company believes its iCell Cardiomyocytes, launched in December, will provide a more accurate in vitro model for cardiac toxicity than testing in animal models.

Cell-based screening has been impractical because patient-derived cardiomyocytes cannot be immortalized and grown in culture, and because it has not been possible to get sufficiently high yields from technologies that can induce pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into cardiac cells.