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Plasticell Spins Out Regenerative Drug Discovery Venture Called 'Progenitor Labs'


4/13/2011 9:42:45 AM

LONDON, UK, 13 April 2011 – Plasticell Ltd, the biotechnology company developing high throughput stem cell technologies, has announced today that following its recent £3.5m financing, it has undergone a strategic re-structuring to enable the Company to focus on its award winning CombiCult™ technology for stem cell differentiation. Consequently, Plasticell Ltd has demerged its regenerative drug discovery unit into a newly established company, Progenitor Labs Limited.

Progenitor Labs has been assigned all rights to Plasticell’s proprietary ProScreen™ (formerly CombiScreen™) technology for the discovery of small molecule drugs capable of regenerating tissues of the human body, and has acquired an exclusive license to CombiCult™ technology solely for the purpose of creating high quality, physiologically relevant progenitor cells for use in ProScreen™.

Dr Yen Choo, the founder behind Plasticell and Progenitor Labs, commented: “Regenerative drugs are an attractive alternative to the use of cells in regenerative medicine. Drugs are relatively easier to develop, manufacture, package, distribute and administer, and have clearer regulatory and reimbursement processes. Crucially, this business model is aligned with that of the pharmaceutical companies that specialise in discovering and marketing small molecule therapeutics.”

As part of the re-organisation, Dr Choo will transfer to Progenitor Labs to lead development of the spin-out, while Mr Dennis Saw and Dr Lilian Hook will be promoted to the posts of CEO and Research Director of Plasticell, respectively. Dr Choo will continue to direct the company’s scientific and business strategy as the Executive Chairman.

“At this point in Plasticell’s development, the Technology and Therapeutics units of the Company have very different business models and capital requirements. Segregating the two businesses will allow Plasticell to focus on growing revenue, while Progenitor Labs can more aggressively progress the development of its regenerative drug discovery platform,” commented Dr Choo. “My scientific colleagues at Plasticell have developed one of the world’s key stem cell technologies, and I am confident that together with Dennis and Lilian they will continue to build on that success.”

About Dennis Saw

Mr Saw, formerly Chief Financial Officer of Plasticell, gained a first class degree in the life sciences from Imperial College, London, and subsequently worked at the Max-Planck-Institute, Berlin, in the human genome effort. He next founded his first business, before joining Goldman Sachs as an investment banker executing corporate finance solutions and mergers and acquisitions deals for clients in Europe and the US. Mr Saw is a serial entrepreneur, having also co-founded a capital markets consultancy firm, a merchant bank and a securities research & brokerage house. He has been working with Plasticell since 2009.

About Lilian Hook

Dr Hook, formerly Principal Scientist at Plasticell, has 14 years experience in stem cell research gained both in academia and industry. Dr Hook holds a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University and a PhD in haematopoietic stem cell development from Edinburgh University. Prior to joining Plasticell, Dr Hook was Scientific Programme Manager at Stem Cell Sciences Ltd, directing research primarily on neural stem cells and the generation of neuronal subtypes from embryonic stem cells.

About Plasticell Ltd

Plasticell is a biotechnology company that specialises in using massively parallel screens to differentiate stem cells. The company’s proprietary technology, Combinatorial Cell Culture™ (CombiCultTM), allows testing of cell culture variables in random combinations to discover optimal laboratory protocols for the differentiation of adult or pluripotent stem cells. Plasticell provides services to, and forms strategic alliances with, industry partners to produce high value cell lines for drug discovery and cell therapy applications.

For more information visit the Plasticell website: www.plasticell.co.uk

For confidential technical enquiries please contact Dr Lilian Hook on 00 44 7811 168 177 or email: lilian@plasticell.co.uk For media enquiries, please contact Tristan Jervis on 00 44 207 861 3019 or e-mail: t.jervis@defacto.com.

About Progenitor Labs Ltd

Progenitor Labs is a biotechnology company exploiting stem and progenitor cells to design high throughput screens for the discovery of small molecule therapeutics that regenerate tissues of the human body.

The company controls key IP protecting the use of progenitor cells in regenerative drug discovery, and has an exclusive licence to CombiCultTM for the purpose of developing progenitor cells that are used in regenerative drug screens. Progenitor Labs aims to develop drugs that instruct organs such as the blood, muscle, bone, heart and brain to regenerate in response to injury, disease or ageing.

For more information visit the Progenitor Labs website: www.progenitorlabs.com

For any enquiries, please contact Dr Yen Choo on 00 44 7966 875 317 or email: yen@progenitorlabs.com

For media enquiries, please contact Tristan Jervis, Associate Director, De Facto Communications on 00 44 (0) 207 861 3019 or e-mail: t.jervis@defacto.com


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