Cell encapsulation for transport of cells and tissues at room temperature
9th May 2019 — Cambridge and Newcastle, UK – Atelerix, creators of an innovative cell encapsulation technology, today announces it has closed a second round of funding of £700,000 to accelerate development of its cell transport products to market.
Atelerix’s products are used for the storage and transport of human cells and tissues at room temperature, removing the need for cryopreservation and the potential for cell degradation or damage. Atelerix sells its products and services to customers in the cell therapy sector, as well as those developing cells, organoids and assays for use in drug discovery and development.
Atelerix was a spin-out from Newcastle University (UK) in 2017 and raised £425,000 in 2018 in a seed investment round led by specialist investor, UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S). This funding allowed the company to validate its technology, develop easy-to-use product formats for use with different cells and tissues and launch products onto the market. The follow-on investment announced today will be used to grow the team, increase revenues and expand the business, capitalising on the exciting opportunities in the cell therapy sector where delivery of viable cells to the patient remains a significant logistical challenge.
Atelerix CEO, Dr Mick McLean, commented “We’re delighted with the success of this fully subscribed funding round. I’m particularly pleased that all our existing investors chose to reinvest in this round, and glad to welcome several new investors. We’ve witnessed a lot of excitement for our products and technology since we launched a year ago and this latest investment will allow us to grow the business faster and reach new markets.”
The new investment round was led by existing investors UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S), Oxford Technology Management and Newable Private Investing with new investors also joining the round. Dr. Andrew Muir of UKI2S, who joined the board of Atelerix after the previous round, says “As a founding investor, UKI2S is delighted to see Atelerix well-positioned to complete the development of its proprietary platform and launch its products into two large markets. Based on great science, the company’s products have relevance to large growing markets of pre-clinical research and cell-based therapy.”
Prior to spinning the Company out of Newcastle University, founder Professor Che Connon’s academic research was supported by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), a UKI2S partner. Professor Connon, commented “Encapsulating cells in the alginate hydrogel is a simple system capable of preserving the viability and functionality of cells at temperatures between 4°C and 21°C for extended periods of time. Used as a method of cell storage and transport, it overcomes the acknowledged problems associated with cryo-shipping. For shipping, cells are encapsulated by the in situ formation of the gel in plates or vials, and can be rapidly released from the gel by the addition of a simple buffer.”
- Predictability and reliability in drug discovery models and for cells used as therapies
- Extended shelf life for currently short-lived cell therapy products
- Customers can use cells and assays immediately on arrival
- No need for cryopreservation, nor need for cytotoxic or animal-derived supplements
- Cells retain their natural state and are not damaged or altered
UK-based Atelerix has developed a method of encapsulating human cells and tissues in an alginate hydrogel that makes them practical to use, adaptable and easy to store and transport – even at room temperature. Used as a method of cell storage and transport, it overcomes the acknowledged problems associated with cryo-shipping. Cells are encapsulated by in situ formation of the gel for shipping in plates, vials or beads, and can be rapidly released from the gel by the addition of a simple buffer.
About the UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S)
UKI2S is a national seed investment fund thathelps the UK to build innovative businesses, leverage private investment and grow jobs. UKI2S achieves this by nurturing new businesses arising from the great science undertaken in the UK; providing the patient, long-term committed capital and strategic advice these companies need. Over the past decade and more UKI2S has built a substantial track record with 55 portfolio companies created – with only £14m of capital from UKI2S – that between them have attracted over £400m of later stage investment and now have a combined market value of over £700m. UKI2S works closely with its partners – led STFC, BBSRC and NERC, which are all part of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) and Dstl — and is aligned with the Catapults and Innovate UK to create the best environment for innovation to flourish and in turn, boost the UK’s competitiveness and productivity by commercialising key technological advances in industrial biotech, ag tech, healthcare, medicine, clean energy, materials, artificial intelligence, software and space. For more information, please visit www.ukinnovationscienceseedfund.co.uk.