Plasticell and Progenitor Labs join thriving bioscience community

Companies seed cell therapy activities at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst open innovation campus

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst pioneers a unique culture to drive early stage bioscience technology and company development

Regenerative medicine companies Plasticell and Progenitor Labs have become the latest tenants of the thriving bioscience community at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC), the UK’s first open innovation bioscience campus.

Progenitor Labs is a drug discovery spin-off from Plasticell and recently received £4m in funding from SR One, the corporate venture arm of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Cell therapy and regenerative medicine is a focus of SBC's open innovation activities, and these two new tenants are expected to play a major role in the incubator's growing network in this area.

Plasticell, a leading UK biotech company in the stem cell field, specialises in the differentiation of stem cells to obtain cell types for a range of biomedical applications. It uses CombiCult, its proprietary bead-based combinatorial screening platform, to differentiate induced pluripotent stem cells, embryonic and adult stem cells into a variety of somatic lineages for use by biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Its sister company Progenitor Labs uses CombiCult to produce ‘synthetic’ adult progenitor cells for drug screening, for discovery of small molecules that regenerate specific tissues, potentially restoring organ function in disease and ageing.

'Open innovation is at the core of Progenitor’s model, with our shareholders and partners contributing finance, technology and expertise to enable drug discovery in the context of regenerative medicine,' said Dr Yen Choo, founder and CEO of Progenitor Labs.

Dennis Saw, CEO of Plasticell, added: ‘The attraction of co-locating Plasticell and Progenitor at SBC has been to group complementary stem cell technologies in a creative environment, obtaining access to expertise from GSK and SBC's other stakeholders, allowing us to deploy capital more efficiently towards discovering regenerative medicines.’

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is the UK’s first open innovation bioscience campus, pioneering a unique culture to drive early stage bioscience technology and company development, and building a thriving community. It is backed by £38m of funding from its founding partners – GlaxoSmithKline, the Wellcome Trust, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Technology Strategy Board and the former East of England Development Agency. Located on the GlaxoSmithKline Stevenage site, the independent facility consists of an Incubator, an Accelerator and a Hub, covering 60,000ft2 of laboratory, office and networking space, and houses a range of companies, from virtual and start-up firms to those which are more established, as well as other organisations.

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