Fresenius Medical Care establishes regenerative medicine subsidiary

Unicyte will continue successful work with University of Turin into kidney and liver diseases, diabetes and cancer

Fresenius Medical Care, a provider of dialysis products and services, has created a new regenerative medicine subsidiary, called Unicyte, with its long-standing partner the University of Turin.

The new subsidiary will carry out research into kidney and liver diseases, diabetes and cancer.

Fresenius Medical Care has collaborated with the University of Turin since 2003. The first result of their joint research under the direction of Prof. Giovanni Camussi, Scientific Director of the university’s Torino Stem Cell Project, was the isolation and characterisation of a human stem cell population from an adult liver. These liver stem cells are said to be easy to isolate, are capable of being multiplied without limit and are transferrable into various other cell types, making them a potential option for regenerative medicine.

Further discoveries include functional pancreatic islets (which mimic the function of pancreatic cells) for the treatment of diabetes, and stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles (particles that support communication between cells) for the treatment of kidney and liver diseases as well as cancer. The first research results have recently been converted into preclinical development projects.

Following up on the successful partnership with Prof. Camussi, Unicyte will continue the joint research and pursue the development projects up to clinical studies on humans.

Dr Olaf Schermeier, Fresenius Medical Care’s CEO for Global Research and Development, said: 'We are very excited to be extending our successful collaboration with Prof. Camussi and the University of Turin. This is the right point in time to focus the outstanding scientific research on indications where there is great medical need.'

Florian Jehle, CEO of Unicyte and Vice President, Technology & Innovation Management at Fresenius Medical Care, added: 'The establishment of Unicyte is the logical step to translate the existing research collaboration on stem cells and extracellular vesicles into clinical programmes. In this way, Fresenius Medical Care is bundling its regenerative medicine research for selected indications.'

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