Plasticell, the biotechnology company specialising in the use of innovative high throughput technologies in stem cell research, has announced signing of a collaboration agreement with the biopharmaceutical company, UCB.
Under the terms of the agreement, UCB will supply Plasticell with drug compound libraries with known biological targets. Plasticell will screen these using its award-winning CombiCult technology to discover new cell signaling pathways involved in stem cell biology, including tissue regeneration.
“Using drugs to investigate and direct stem cell differentiation is attracting substantial interest from the pharmaceuticals sector. We are delighted that UCB has chosen us as their partner in this novel program, combining proprietary compound libraries from pharma with our patent-protected, high throughput stem cell screening technology that accelerates discovery research”, commented Dr Yen Choo, CEO of Plasticell.
Plasticell’s unique ability to multiplex experiments will be utilized to test compound libraries in parallel on a broad variety of stem cells, including human embryonic, neural and mesenchymal stem cells. Furthermore, the collaboration will take advantage of Plasticell’s second generation CombiCult™ platform, featuring novel algorithms that assist experimental design and downstream data mining when simultaneously screening hundreds of compounds.
All screening will be conducted using serum- and growth factor- free cell culture media, enabling biological function to be more easily elucidated for every hit.
Dr Jey Jeyakumar, Plasticell Senior Scientist, remarked: “We expect some very interesting outcomes from the synergy between annotated chemistry and multiplexed stem cell screening. The screens will rapidly reveal new uses for well characterized compounds in directing stem cell differentiation, and will yield proprietary components for lower cost and superior performance stem cell culture media.”
Dr Matthew Hickling, Senior Medical Advisor at UCB commented: “We think this approach will prove to be a highly successful technique for applying well characterised compounds in discovery research and potentially in future cell therapies. Moreover, regenerative medicine is not limited to the use of stem cells as therapeutic agents: compounds that influence the fate of stem cells will have multiple applications and we are pleased to be working with Plasticell who are at the cutting edge in this field.”
In 2009, Plasticell announced a pioneering collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to test the effect of model regenerative drugs in screens designed to discover novel compounds for regenerative medicine. Using its CombiScreen™ platform, Plasticell was able to configure screens that clearly detected the regenerative activity of the test compounds.