ITI Life Sciences has announced that it has reached its first technical milestone in its Stem Cell Technologies (SCT) R&D programme, and as a result Dundee University has joined the £9.5 million programme, which started in January 2007.
Dundee University will join the programme’s other research providers, Swedish biotech firm Cellartis AB and the University of Glasgow, in a collaborative effort to develop technologies that will enable automated processes to produce high volumes of high quality human stem cells.
According to ITI Life Sciences, this capability does not exist anywhere in the world and its development will put Scotland at the forefront of stem cell research as well as bringing closer the use of stem cells as therapeutics.
The initial phase of the programme has focused on developing optimal conditions under which human embryonic stem (hES) cells can be tested for their ability to differentiate into specific cells. Having achieved this crucial step, ITI Life Sciences is now in a position to bring in Dundee University’s screening expertise, which will be instrumental in developing additional technologies towards the programme’s objectives.
Dr Eleanor Mitchell, ITI Life Sciences’ acting CEO, said: “We are extremely pleased to have reached this milestone in our Stem Cell Technologies programme so quickly. This technical advance allows us to progress our programme quicker than expected and to bring in an additional excellent research provider in the form of Dundee University.
“Stem cell research offers huge potential for the life sciences sector in Scotland. Scottish academic studies in this field, as well as the location of a growing number of international stem cell players here means it is viewed as one of the country’s major strengths. The ITI programme aims to accelerate Scottish research and reinforce its prominence and reputation in this important area.”
Professor Julie Frearson, University of Dundee, said: “Novel technologies, such as these under development within the ITI programme, require expertise across a range of disciplines. The ITI programme provides a great opportunity for groups with such complementary skills to collaborate effectively in a situation that otherwise could not exist in any single emerging company or university.”