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October 18, 2017

GSK, Plasticell Partner to Produce Hematopoietic Cells from iPSCs

  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will provide combinations of molecules for screening through Plasticell’s Combinatorial Cell Culture™ (CombiCult®) combinatorial stem cell screening technology, through a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

    Plasticell will use the bead-based CombiCult platform to produce hematopoietic cells from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by optimizing the directed differentiation of the iPSCs to specific blood cell lineages for use by GSK in therapeutic research, the companies said.

    CombiCult is designed to allow for simultaneous screening of multiple iPSC lines, facilitating the development of a robust protocol that is applicable across lines, Plasticell added.

    “During the course of developing its therapeutic programs, Plasticell has acquired considerable expertise in pluripotent and hematopoietic stem cells, the derivation of specific hematopoietic cell types, and the use of small molecules to drive stem cell differentiation,” Plasticell founder and executive chairman Yen Choo, Ph.D., said in a statement. “Moreover, Plasticell’s combinatorial and multiplexing technologies are an ideal solution for iPSC differentiation where high developmental potency and variability between different patient-derived cell lines often frustrates the search for robust and efficient differentiation protocols.”

    GSK already partners with a Plasticell spinout, Progenitor Therapeutics, which is screening GSK’s compound libraries. Initial therapeutic targets include osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis, and muscular dystrophy. “We have been identifying a lot of drug assets suitable for repurposing,” Dr. Choo, who is also founder, CEO and CSO of Progenitor, told GEN earlier this year.

    Plasticell and GSK have teamed up for more than a decade on various stem cell research projects. Plasticell is co-located at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, a cell therapy hub based within GSK’s Medicines Research Centre.

    Plasticell’s therapeutic focus is in hematopoietic stem cell therapy, anemia and thrombocytopenia, cancer immunotherapy, and diabetes/obesity.

    The company is now in late preclinical development for cell and gene therapy applications of its expansion of hematopoietic stem cells. The company said it is also working on the manufacture of red blood cells, platelets, and immune cells from iPSCs.

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