Reinnervate Ltd and Roslin Cellab announce plans to collaborate on the development of protocols for three dimensional growth of hESC’s using Alvetex®Scaffold.

Sedgefield, UK. 26 April 2012. Reinnervate Ltd and Roslin Cellab, two leading UK companies in the fields of 3D cell culture and stem cell biology, today announced that they will join forces to develop protocols for the three dimensional growth of human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs).

‘This is a great opportunity for two innovative UK companies to combine their expertise and knowledge to produce exciting new tools for stem cell biologists’ said Richard Rowling – Commercial Director at Reinnervate Ltd. ‘We are delighted that Roslin Cellab has agreed to work with us on this project. They bring a wealth of experience and expert knowledge in the development and delivery of custom tools and protocols in the field of hESC biology. Their professional approach and attention to detail is just what we were looking for’ he added.

Prof Stefan Przyborski, CSO and founder of Reinnervate Ltd, commented: ‘It is well known that the physical environment in which cells grow plays an important role in controlling cell differentiation and the development of functioning tissues. Current two dimensional (2D) models restrict the growth potential of differentiating stem cells. The culture of cells in three dimensions (3D) radically enhances cell growth, differentiation and function. At Reinnervate, we have developed Alvetex®Scaffold which provides a solution for simple and routine 3D cell culture. In this collaboration, we are combining the advantages of 3D cell growth with the enormous potential of hESCs. Preliminary work has already demonstrated enhanced neural development by stem cells using Alvetex®Scaffold technology. We are now engaged in more extensive investigations to fully exploit 3D cell differentiation by hESCs in collaboration with Roslin Cell Lab.’

Jason King, Manager of Business Development at Roslin Cellab said ‘we are seeing great demand for improved 3D culture systems. Stem cell scientists can use these to study the biology of the stem cell “niche”. This is the 3D microenvironment in which stem cells normally reside until they receive signals that cause them to start dividing and to move out into the organ to differentiate into cells of the required type (eg. heart, brain or liver cells) and repair tissue damage. As a company we have a strong interest in liver cells (hepatocytes) which we can make from our stem cell lines. It is known that when hepatocytes are grown in 3D structures, they have both better metabolic enzyme activity and extended life spans, which are both great advantages when using these cells in cell-based toxicity assays.’

As part of the collaboration, Reinnervate will supply its market leading Alvetex®Scaffold technology and general expertise in the 3D growth of cells in vitro. Roslin Cellab will supply cells, expertise and protocol development capabilities to the project.

The two companies will also investigate the growth of hESC’s on new alvetex® product formats that may offer the ability to improve and simplify embryoid body assay protocols. Embryoid bodies are derived from stem cells and consist of a broad array of differentiated tissues. In many respects they resemble the structures that form in teratoma tumours when stem cells are transplanted into an animal host. An aspect of this collaboration will include using alvetex technology to support the growth of embryoid body-like structures. This will subsequently be developed into a robust procedure to reduce the need to use animals for producing teratomas as a test of stem cell developmental potential.

About Alvetex®Scaffold
Alvetex®Scaffold is a unique polystyrene material that provides a robust and inert scaffold for cells to grow and form complex 3D structures in the laboratory, mimicking the normal growth and formation of tissues in the body. Reinnervate has extensively tested and validated Alvetex®Scaffold with a large number of cell types, including liver, skin, cancer and stem cells, all of which have important applications in basic research into cell development, disease modelling and drug safety screening.

Alvetex®Scaffold has been launched globally in several formats: a 12-well culture plate, 6-well and 12-well inserts and a deep petri dish. These formats provide researchers with an exceptional degree of versatility in how they choose to construct different 3D cell culture models. Through enabling alternative applications, such as long-term 3D cell culture over several weeks, 3D cell growth at air/liquid interface and 3D cell growth with different media constituents, to be performed simply and routinely, reinnervate continues to make genuine 3D cell culture a reality for researchers today.

Alvetex®Scaffold was voted as one of the top 100 innovative products of 2011 at the R&D 100 awards and was named among the winners of The Scientist magazine’s “Top 10 Life Science Innovations of 2010”.

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Roslin Cellab tests new products and processes destined for the stem cell and regenerative medicine sectors. This could include biologics, new plastic ware for 2D and 3D stem cell culture, transfection reagents, surface coatings, matrix products and new equipment used either for large scale stem cell culture or tissue engineering applications. The company is also able to differentiate and genetically modify their stem cells in line with client requirements. In addition, the company has a strong focus on the production of high quality stem cell derived hepatocytes. These can be used for in-vitro cell based assays that focus on drug toxicity and metabolism as they offer a level of reproducibility that primary human hepatocytes cannot.

About reinnervate
Reinnervate is an innovative life sciences company dedicated to making routine 3D cell culture a reality for researchers in academia and in the pharmaceutical and related industries.

Reinnervate’s core technology is Alvetex®Scaffold, a unique and proprietary scaffold that enables routine 3D cell culture in the laboratory. Alvetex provides a nanoscale environment that supports genuine homogeneous 3D cell growth. Cells grown using alvetex form complex 3D tissue cultures which more closely mimic normal in-vivo cell growth and the formation of tissues in the body than conventional techniques. The use of alvetex-derived 3D cell cultures can provide researchers with greater insight into how cells behave in the body in response to external factors (such as drug candidates) than is currently possible with existing 2D or other emerging 3D cell culture technologies.

Reinnervate has generated significant data, which have been published extensively in peer-reviewed publications, exemplifying the use of alvetex in a large number of cell types and applications. Alvetex®Scaffold has been launched globally in several formats: a 12-well culture plate, 6-well and 12-well inserts and a deep well petri dish.

Reinnervate continues to develop its technology for use in the 3D cell culture. During 2012 Reinnervate will deliver further innovative products to help researchers improve the growth and function of their cultured cells

Reinnervate was founded in 2002 based on the pioneering research of Professor Stefan Przyborski and his lab at Durham University, UK, and is funded by NorthStar Equity Investors (NSEI), management and private investors.

About Roslin Cellab
Roslin Cellab is wholly owned by the Roslin Foundation and was created in 2008 to provide contract research services to clients developing new products for the stem cell and regenerative medicine sectors. The company has access to human embryonic stem cell lines created by its not for profit sister company Roslin Cells. To date, 20 independent lines have been derived, ten of which were produced under cGMP conditions. Following the discovery that one of these lines was especially efficient at making hepatocyte-like cells with a mature phenotype, the company began commercialising these for in-vitro cell-based assays.

Roslin Cellab is based at the Roslin BioCentre, Roslin, just to the south of Edinburgh, Scotland. For more information on Roslin Cellab services and some of our R&D projects, please see our website.

For further information, please contact
For Reinnervate
Ashley Cooper, Chief Executive Officer
+44 (0)1740 625266
[email protected]

David Robinson
Alto Marketing
+44 (0) 1489 557672
[email protected]