London, UK, 15 January 2009. Plasticell, the biotechnology company developing regenerative drugs using high throughput stem cell technologies, today announced that it is funding industrial collaborative projects in two separate laboratories based in University College London (UCL).
The first collaboration, with the groups of Professors Chris Mason and Nigel Titchener-Hooker, of the UCL Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering, will result in process improvements to Plasticell’s CombiCult™ through the application of engineering principles such as whole bioprocess modelling. Plasticell will supplement a grant from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) to fund a mature post-graduate student, Tristan Pritchard-Meeker, formerly a GlaxoSmithKline scientist, who will carry out full time research on the project before submitting a thesis for the degree of EngD.
The second collaboration, with Dr Suwan Jayasinghe of the BioPhysics Group of UCL’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, will result in novel applications of Plasticell’s CombiCult™ through state-of-the-art stem cell microencapsulation. Plasticell will supplement a grant from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) to fund a doctoral student, Patrick Odenwälder, who will carry out full time research on the project before submitting a thesis for the degree of PhD.
In addition to their respective academic group leaders, Dr Yen Choo, CEO of Plasticell, will act as the students’ Industrial PhD Supervisor.
“We are extremely pleased to have put in place these collaborative research projects that allow us to access the expertise of two leading academic groups, to contribute to the training of talented scientists and to leverage external funding to progress our research,” said Dr Choo.
“We are delighted to be increasing our collaborative activities with Plasticell allowing us to further optimise its highly innovative CombiCult™ platform technology,” commented Professor Mason.
“The BioPhysics Group looks forward to working with Plasticell towards a novel combinatorial science for cell biology,” added Dr Jayasinghe.
Plasticell is a privately held, London-based biotechnology company using innovative, high throughput stem cell technologies and novel drug discovery platforms to dissect the mechanisms leading to differentiation of stem cells, the master cells responsible for tissue development and repair. Plasticell’s research focus is to discover regenerative small molecule drugs. The company also forms industry alliances by partnering its Combinatorial Cell Culture™ technology for high throughput stem cell differentiation to derive cell lines and reagents for research and therapy applications. For more information please visit the company’s website: www.plasticell.co.uk
About the UCL Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering
The UCL Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering is a world leader in bioprocess research addressing the future needs of the healthcare sector. It is the largest centre in the UK and was ranked as “internationally leading” in the last national Research Selectivity Exercise. Its multidisciplinary Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing Programme is focused on the bioprocess engineering aspects of stem cell and regenerative medicine translation including scale-up and scale-out. The aim is to facilitate the translation of the basic science into therapies for routine
clinical practice. Taking a “whole bioprocessing” approach, i.e. the complete process from donor or patient biopsy all the way through to clinical implantation into the patient, has required the establishment of a number of collaborative partnerships with leading representatives from all the key stake-holders groups including academia, clinicians and industry.
About the BioPhysics Group
The BioPhysics Group strives to thoroughly understand the intricacies of three major areas of research, patterning and self-assembly of all advanced materials (structural and functional) to the direct engineering of living cells (primary, immortalized to stem cells) and organisms. These areas of research are investigated from both a molecular and/or cellular level upwards to recognize the associated fundamental sciences through to focused applications in the real world. The group’s research interests extend to the development of novel processing techniques for drop and placement of all materials, especially living biological cells and organisms, for widespread applications ranging from the physical to the life sciences and their interface.