Newcells Biotech, a company based in Newcastle, UK, will use the investment to further its production and differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs).
A spokesperson for Newcells Biotech told us how the technology is used: “As confidence grows in the ability of specialist providers to provide quality controlled hiPSC cell lines and differentiate these into cells with phenotypes that mimic in vivo physiology, the technology is being adopted in applications such as safety evaluation.”
The technology is also able to be used in other areas, as explained by the spokesperson: “Uptake of the technology in, for example, cardiac safety assessment is accelerating, promoted by pre-competitive investment from industry and public organisations and this is expanding into other areas, including pharmacokinetics. The demonstration by numerous academic and industrial groups that hiPSC cell lines derived from donors with genetic diseases can be used to model in vitro disease pathophysiology is further expanding the utility of the approach for target validation and in some cases screening programmes.”
Due to the additional funding, it now means that the company will be able to spend the next 12 to 18 months expanding facilities and investing in new equipment, according to the spokesperson.
The use of stem cells is developing at a significant rate, as researchers develop ways to surmount some of the challenges previously limiting the field – such as challenges of scaling up production – and, as a result, has begun to attract significant investment.
The road to achieving the financial backing has been on-going since 2017. The spokesperson detailed the process leading up to working with NVM Private Equity and Northstar Ventures: “We worked with the existing Board to identify potential investors with a portfolio, investment strategy and expertise that matched our sector and ambitions for growth.
“Over a period of several months, we met with potential investors, including pitching at the Entrepreneurs of the North 2017 event, organised by the Innovation SuperNetwork. At the event we focused on NVM and worked with them during Q1 2018 to complete the investment process.”