Plasticell and Progenitor Labs Join Thriving Community at SBC
News Jun 11, 2013
Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC) has welcomed regenerative medicine companies Plasticell Ltd and Progenitor Labs as tenants.
Progenitor Labs is a drug discovery spin-off from Plasticell and recently received £4m in funding from SR One, the corporate venture arm of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Cell therapy and regenerative medicine is a focus of SBC's open innovation activities, and these two new tenants are expected to play a major role in the incubator's growing network in this area.
Plasticell, a leading UK biotech company in the stem cell field, specializes in the differentiation of stem cells to obtain cell types for a range of biomedical applications.
It uses CombiCult, its proprietary bead-based combinatorial screening platform, to differentiate induced pluripotent stem cells, embryonic and adult stem cells into a variety of somatic lineages for use by biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
Its sister company Progenitor Labs uses CombiCult to produce ‘synthetic’ adult progenitor cells for drug screening, for discovery of small molecules that regenerate specific tissues, potentially restoring organ function in disease and ageing.
Dr Yen Choo, founder and CEO of Progenitor Labs, commented: ‘Open innovation is at the core of Progenitor’s model, with our shareholders and partners contributing finance, technology and expertise to enable drug discovery in the context of regenerative medicine.’
Dennis Saw, CEO of Plasticell Ltd, added: ‘The attraction of co-locating Plasticell and Progenitor at SBC has been to group complementary stem cell technologies in a creative environment, obtaining access to expertise from GSK and SBC's other stakeholders, allowing us to deploy capital more efficiently towards discovering regenerative medicines.’
Dr Martino Picardo, CEO of Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, said 'SBC recognizes the patient benefits inherent in cell therapy, and is working to develop a network to catalyze innovation in this area. We are delighted to welcome Plasticell and Progenitor as our first stem cell tenants, and look forward to working with them, our stakeholders and other players in the UK sector to develop exciting new projects.'
Zebrafish, in contrast to humans, have outstanding regenerative capacities: and can regrow brain cells from so-called progenitor cells. Scientists have now determined that these progenitor cells consist of eight different sub-populations. In a fish model of Alzheimer’s disease, only some of these populations increased proliferation to restore lost cells.READ MORE