Plasticell spins out regenerative drug discovery unit


Newly demerged business to be called Progenitor Labs

Plasticell, a London-based biotechnology company developing high throughput stem cell technologies, has re-structured following a recent £3.5m in financing, which will enable it to focus on its CombiCult technology for stem cell differentiation. As a result, Plasticell has demerged its regenerative drug discovery venture into a newly established company called Progenitor Labs.

Progenitor Labs has taken over all rights to Plasticell’s proprietary ProScreen (formerly CombiScreen) technology for the discovery of small molecule drugs capable of regenerating tissues of the human body, and has acquired an exclusive licence to CombiCult technology solely for the purpose of creating high quality, physiologically relevant progenitor cells for use in ProScreen.

Yen Choo, founder of Plasticell and Progenitor Labs, said: ‘Regenerative drugs are an attractive alternative to the use of cells in regenerative medicine. Drugs are relatively easier to develop, manufacture, package, distribute and administer, and have clearer regulatory and reimbursement processes. Crucially, this business model is aligned with that of the pharmaceutical companies that specialise in discovering and marketing small molecule therapeutics.’

As part of the re-organisation, Choo will move across to Progenitor Labs to lead development of the spin-out, while Dennis Saw and Lilian Hook will be promoted to chief executive and research director of Plasticell, respectively. Choo will continue to direct the company’s scientific and business strategy as executive chairman.

‘Segregating the two businesses will allow Plasticell to focus on growing revenue, while Progenitor Labs can more aggressively progress the development of its regenerative drug discovery platform,’ said Choo.