Investment into regenerative medicine grows alongside company collaborations

By Andre Rickard, The Science Advisory Board contributing writer

February 23, 2022 -- Regenerative medicine is a relatively new area of medicine that involves significant research into how to harness the body's own healing mechanisms as treatments for a variety of diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and osteoarthritis. This is performed through the use of stem cell therapies, tissue engineering, and medical devices. The field is rapidly expanding, with many companies forming strategic research partnerships.

Companies like Astellas Pharma, EdiGene, and Univercells Technologies see the high potential in this area for the development of groundbreaking disease treatments and are continuing to invest in this field, according to Cell and Gene Therapy Business Outlook, a sister publication of ScienceBoard.

Astellas Pharma and Exopharm

Astellas Pharma is a global pharmaceutical research company developing treatments for a variety of diseases ranging from cancer to chronic bladder and kidney diseases. Astellas embraces several innovative branches of the medical field, including regenerative medicine. This is highlighted through the company's own subsidiary, the Astellas Institute for Regenerative Medicine (AIRM), which focuses on R&D into pluripotent stem cell-derived therapies to regenerate damaged tissues.

To expand on its research, Astellas has entered into a collaborative services agreement with Exopharm. Through the agreement, the two companies will perform laboratory work to demonstrate the effectiveness of Exopharm's ligand-based exosome affinity purification, LOAD, and EVPS technologies using AIRM's cell-based therapeutic technologies in the manufacturing of exosomes for Astellas' future pipeline of products. In addition, AIRM will pay Exopharm up to $481,000 for these projects over five months.

Additional financial details of this collaboration were not disclosed.

EdiGene and Haihe Laboratory of Cell Ecosystem

EdiGene is a clinical-stage biotechnology company that utilizes cutting-edge genetic editing technologies to advance drug discovery and development for a host of genetic diseases and cancer. Some of these genetic technologies include an in vivo therapeutics platform based on RNA base editing and proprietary ex vivo genome-editing platforms for hematopoietic stem cells, delving into the realm of regenerative medicine.

As part of the company's exploration into this innovative area, EdiGene has partnered with Peking Union Medical College Hospital's Haihe Laboratory of Cell Ecosystem to jointly develop hematopoietic stem cell regenerative therapies. The collaboration uniquely leverages EdiGene's gene editing capabilities, allowing the two companies to develop genetically modified hematopoietic stem cell therapies while also exploring novel biomarkers to optimize quality control for stem cell production.

Financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed.

Univercells Technologies and RoosterBio

Univercells Technologies is a global provider of innovative biomanufacturing technologies that achieves cost-effective viral production for R&D and commercial use in viral vectors and viral vaccines. Univercells is also involved in the optimization of many biomanufacturing processes, including vesicle manufacturing.

Building on its biomanufacturing capabilities, Univercells has entered into a partnership with RoosterBio to optimize the manufacturing of extracellular vesicles using scalable and continuous bioprocessing technologies to advance the commercialization of regenerative therapies. The partnership will combine Univercells' intensified and integrated biomanufacturing platforms with RoosterBio's human mesenchymal stem/stromal cell bioprocess and media systems. The goal of the collaboration is to produce solutions for exosome vesicle manufacturing that will reduce the cost and time needed to develop regenerative therapies in a scalable way.

Financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed.

As the medical field advances, researchers are finding new and more creative ways to treat the diseases plaguing us today. Regenerative medicine is a growing field that brings us closer to achieving this goal every day.

Astellas Pharma, EdiGene, and Univercells Technologies are just a handful of companies that are actively engaged in expanding this area of therapeutic development, because they recognize the value it has for helping patients. As the push toward biomedical innovation continues, such companies will lead the way to improving human health using previously unexplored and underdeveloped methods, until now.

To stay up to date on the latest business happenings in the cell and gene therapy industry, check out Cell and Gene Therapy Business Outlook today!

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