London 13 December 2011: Plasticell has announced that the Technology Strategy Board has made a further investment in the Company’s flagship technology, CombiCult™, the high throughput technology designed to solve the major bottleneck in stem cell research and development.
The Technology Strategy Board will provide a grant of approximately £750k towards a £1.5m project entitled ‘High Throughput Platform for the Discovery of GMP-Compatible Stem Cell Manufacturing Protocols’. The project will be performed by a research consortium led by Plasticell and including the special health authority NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), Cell Guidance Systems Limited and LGC Limited.
The high cost of goods, difficulty of scale-up for biomanufacturing and need to ensure regulatory compliance are critical problems in the development of cellular therapies. This new project will tackle these challenges to deliver an integrated platform for the rapid identification of novel, optimised stem cell expansion and differentiation protocols that are easily translated to clinical grade manufacturing. The consortium will also develop technologies to address QC issues in the scale-up and manufacturing process.
Commenting on the award, Dennis Saw, Chief Executive of Plasticell, said: “Over the past five years, Plasticell has secured eight grants from Technology Strategy Board technology competitions. The awards have provided funding for projects costing over £6.2m and recognise Plasticell’s innovation and consistent position at the cutting edge of stem cell research and the industry.”
About Plasticell and CombiCult™
Plasticell is a biotechnology company that specialises in using massively parallel screens to differentiate stem cells.
The company’s proprietary technology, Combinatorial Cell Culture™ or CombiCult™, allows testing of cell culture variables in millions of random combinations to discover optimal protocols for the differentiation and expansion of adult and pluripotent stem cells. Results are obtained rapidly and at a fraction of the cost of trial and error experimentation – each screen can produce many dozens of protocols which are ranked by optimality using powerful proprietary bioinformatics. In addition to discovering optimized stem cell differentiation protocols, CombiCult™ can be used to produce high-value cell types and/or custom media for drug development and cell therapy applications, improving yields and decreasing cost of goods for bio-processing.
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About the Technology Strategy Board
The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led government body which works to create economic growth by ensuring that the UK is a global leader in innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit www.innovateuk.org
About NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT)
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), a Special Health Authority in the NHS, manages the national voluntary donation system for blood, tissues, organs and stem cells, giving it a unique ability to manage the production of viable cell therapies. NHSBT's teams provide a deep skillbase in the research, manufacture and delivery of cellular therapies. It therefore has the skills to work on the improvement of existing processes and products and the development of innovative procedures and therapies as well as the supply chain infrastructure to provide a total solution. This ensures that NHSBT is at the forefront of tissue engineering and cellular therapy developments.
About Cell Guidance Systems
Cell Guidance Systems is a research reagents business, developing a range of synergistic technologies to accelerate and enable stem cell science. Our core research capabilities are based around culture of human pluripotent stem cells and growth factors. The Company has licensed and developed technologies that address essential elements of stem cell scientists work flow. The company has offices in the UK and US.
About LGC Limited
LGC (www.lgcgroup.com) is an international science-based company and market leader in analytical, forensic, biotechnology, and diagnostic services, as well as diagnostic products and reference standards. LGC operates in a variety of markets which underpin the safety, health and security of the public and the regulation of industry, for both public and private sector clients.
LGC operates internationally through four divisions - LGC Forensics, LGC Genomics, LGC Standards and LGC Science & Technology. The latter includes specialist laboratories delivering contracts for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and supports LGC's designated role as the UK's National Measurement Institute for chemical and bioanalytical measurement.
Our operations are extensively accredited to international quality standards such as ISO/IEC 17025. With headquarters in Teddington, South West London, the LGC Group employs ca 1,460 staff in 35 laboratories and centres globally. Privatised in 1996 and now majority-owned by funds managed by Bridgepoint, LGC was founded almost 170 years ago as the Laboratory of the Government Chemist - a statutory function maintained by LGC today.
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