Stem cell specialist ReNeuron seals Japanese collaboration for liver cells

05 Dec 2006 | News


One of the leading fetal stem cell companies ReNeuron Group plc, has agreed a collaboration with CellSeed Inc, a tissue engineering company based in Tokyo, Japan, for the joint development of liver cell culture systems for use in drug toxicology screening.

The project to be conducted in CellSeed’s laboratories, aims to combine ReNeuron’s patented hepatocyte cell lines in with CellSeed’s UpCell and HydroCell temperature-sensitive polymer products, to generate three-dimensional functional liver tissue.  Such 3D liver systems represent the most effective way to assay for human liver toxicity of new drugs.

If the collaboration is successful, these products are expected to be launched in 2007.

ReNeuron’s liver cell lines express similar markers for drug metabolism as those seen with primary adult liver cells. But unlike primary liver cells they can be readily expanded to provide a stable, plentiful and well characterised source of liver cells for cell-based toxicology screening applications.

ReNeuron, based in Guildford, UK,  plans to file for approval to conduct a US Phase I study of its lead stem cell product, for treating the aftereffects of in stroke by the end of 2006. In the meantime, in common with many of its fellow stem cell development companies, it is diversifying into drug discovery in a bid to generate some revenues.

CellSeed owns novel cell-sheet engineering technology developed at Tokyo Women’s Medical University. The core technology is based on grafting any kind of synthetic polymers to organic materials covalently at nano-thickness level. Cells cultured in this way can be collected in a form of contiguous cell sheets rather than as isolated cells. These cell sheets can be piled together to create three-dimensional tissue.

CellSeed’s lead product is regenerated living cornea epithelium, targeting poor epithelium recovery after corneal grafts and persistent epithelial defects. Approval to test this product is being filed in Europe, with initiation of clinical trials expected in 2007.

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