ReNeuron has become the first corporate partner of the Cell Therapy Catapult, a "centre of transitional excellence for regenerative medicine", in a pact to develop new cell therapy manufacturing technologies and assays.
The groups announced this morning that they will be working together on the development and optimisation of processes required to scale up manufacture of ReNeuron's flagship CTX cell line, as well as the development of protocols for automated manufacturing processes.
The CTX cell line was used in ReNeuron's ReN001 therapy for stroke, which is currently being assessed in Phase I clinical trials, and in ReN009, a therapy for critical limb ischaemia, which is on the verge of entering clinical development.
Under the terms of the deal, the Catapult will stream £1.3 million into the collaboration in the form of expert knowledge and state-of-the-art laboratories, equipment and services, while ReNeuron will also provide facilities, staff and relevant expertise.
Explaining the strategy behind the move, ReNeuron's chief executive Michael Hunt said it will enable the firm to accelerate the manufacturing development of its lead CTX stem cell therapy candidate, "as well as tapping into the growing infrastructure, expertise and services that the Cell Therapy Catapult offers”.
From the other side, Keith Thompson, chief executive of the Cell Therapy Catapult collaboration, said the collaboration will enable his group to expand its capabilities and expertise, "as well as helping ReNeuron advance development of its pipeline, and so fits well with our focus on growing the UK cell therapy sector”.
The news marks the latest in a run of good fortune for ReNeuron. Earlier this month, the group announced completion of dosing in its Phase I clinical trial assessing ReN001 in stroke, and plans for a Phase II trial are now well underway.
The firm has also been granted permission to begin Phase I studies assessing its ReN009 stem cell therapy for critical limb ischaemia, and recently picked up two separate grants worth £1.2 million from Biomedical Catalyst - a source of public funding jointly managed by the Technology Strategy Board and the Medical Research Council - to fuel its stem cell research programme.