Plasticell to collaborate with UCB

Will use CombiCult technology to discover new cell signalling pathways

Plasticell, a UK biotechnology company specialising in the use of innovative high throughput technologies in stem cell research, has signed a collaboration agreement with Belgian biotech UCB.

Under the terms of the agreement, UCB will supply Plasticell with drug compound libraries with known biological targets. Plasticell will screen these using its CombiCult technology to discover new cell signalling pathways involved in stem cell biology, including tissue regeneration.

Financial details were not disclosed.

‘We are delighted that UCB has chosen us as its partner in this novel programme, combining proprietary compound libraries from pharma with our patent-protected, high throughput stem cell screening technology,’ said Dr Yen Choo, chief executive of Plasticell.

Plasticell’s ability to multiplex experiments will be used to test compound libraries in parallel on human embryonic, neural and mesenchymal stem cells. Furthermore, the collaboration will take advantage of Plasticell’s second-generation CombiCult screening platform, featuring novel algorithms that assist experimental design and downstream data mining when simultaneously screening hundreds of compounds.

All screening will be conducted using serum- and growth factor-free cell culture media.

‘We expect some very interesting outcomes from the synergy between annotated chemistry and multiplexed stem cell screening,’ said Jey Jeyakumar, senior scientist at Plasticell.

‘The screens will rapidly reveal new uses for well characterised compounds in directing stem cell differentiation, and will yield proprietary components for lower cost and superior performance stem cell culture media.’