UK biotech inks stem cell engineering deal with Singapore researchers
Stevenage, UK-based Plasticell is investigating the use of hematopoietic stem cell in the treatment of over 70 different therapeutic indications and has struck technology licensing, collaborative research and scientific exchange visit agreements with the two Singapore research centres.
Proprietary genome editing technology at NTU and A*STAR will be applied to insert functional multi-transgene cassettes into specific loci of human stem cell lines.
“Technology is based on the use of an engineered recombinase to insert transgenes into a safe harbour site that is functional in hESC and their differentiated progeny,” Plasticell’s founder and executive chairman Dr Yen Choo told Biopharma-Reporter.com.
“The technology is an alternative to conventional genome editing technology which is difficult to apply to engineering of pluripotent stem cells.”
These engineered lines will then be used by Plasticell in a number of projects looking at directed stem cell differentiation, phenotypic screening for drug discovery and in next-generation immuno-oncology applications.
The selection of government-funded research organisation A*STAR and the local University was due to both having “considerable, long-standing expertise and technology in the stem cell area,” Choo said.
“Therefore Plasticell is looking at these relationships strategically, as well as the growing importance of Asia in the stem cell field. Singapore has a substantial, incremental science budget and a policy of encouraging engagement with industrial partners.”
Plasticell itself has developed potent media compositions to expand hematopoetic stem cells in vitro by factors of up to 500-fold and, according to the firm, is developing GMP-compliant bioprocesses for manufacture of cord blood CB and bone marrow therapies.