MultiCell Technologies, Inc. and Living Cell Technologies Limited (LCT) have announced that the parties have entered into a joint venture to develop therapeutic liver cell applications.
The collaboration will focus on creating liver-cell based technologies and products that lead to the development of medicines and treatments for a variety of liver-related diseases.
Under the terms of the collaboration, MultiCell will develop extended functionality of its adult liver stem cells and immortalized human hepatocytes using LCT's encapsulation technology (biocapsules).
The resulting products will be used for drug discovery, protein production and therapeutic clinical applications.
The 'biocapsule', made from a purified form of alginate, enables LCT to regulate what factors and nutrients can pass through the wall of the capsule, protecting and nurturing the cells within.
Under the terms of the agreement, jointly developed intellectual property will be co-owned, with MultiCell retaining commercialization rights for its current business areas.
MultiCell recently announced that it was developing a therapeutic platform to capitalize on the intellectual property it has developed in the stem cell area.
“MultiCell is very excited to combine our liver cell based technologies with LCT's proven encapsulation platform,” said Dr. Stephen Chang, President of MultiCell Technologies Inc.
“We envision that this combinatorial approach will be key to scaling up a family of liver cell products.”
“We've known that LCT's technology will play a significant role in furthering stems cells and cell lines as a viable therapeutic product, but we are particularly excited about working with one of the fields leaders,” said Dr. Alfred Vasconcellos, President and CEO, LCT BioPharma Inc., the wholly-owned US subsidiary of LCT.
“The agreement will enable us to evaluate liver stem cells and immortalized human liver cells for use in both drug development and therapeutic applications,” said Vasconcellos.
“There is the potential to build a significant drug and stem cell delivery from this venture.”
LCT has demonstrated the potential of its technology to treat diseases caused by a lack or loss of cell function.