IRICoR and CCRM partner to launch ExCellThera to produce high number of blood stem cells required for human transplants
MONTREAL and TORONTO, June 15, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - Patients suffering from acute myeloid leukemia (AML), who require stem cell transplantation as part of their treatment, may now benefit from a new best-in-class process that improves the viability and success of cord blood stem cell transplantation.
ExCellThera, a spin-off company launched by the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer – Commercialization of Research (IRICoR), and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) is based on novel proprietary intellectual property related to the expansion of stem cells developed by Dr. Guy Sauvageau at Université de Montréal's (UdeM) Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC), and Dr. Peter Zandstra at the University of Toronto's Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering.
"We are excited to be working with CCRM to launch this new IRICoR spin-off company located in Montréal, which includes novel stem cell-expanding molecules that were initially identified and funded at IRIC via an early-stage investment from IRICoR," commented Michel Bouvier, CEO of IRICoR. "Our unique expertise in stem cell biology, coupled with a strong medicinal chemistry team has allowed us to advance this program rapidly towards the clinic. By working closely with CCRM, and combining our intellectual property, we have been able to leverage the expertise and technology of both IRICoR and CCRM to demonstrate the value of strong partnerships between Montreal and Toronto."
A Phase I and II clinical trial designed to test the ability of ExCellThera's stem cell expansion approach is slated to begin this year at the Maisonneuve-Rosement Hospital in Montreal, and will also include Sainte-Justine Hospital and other centres in the near future. The trial will enroll up to 25 patients suffering from AML who require stem cell transplantation for the treatment of their disease.
"CCRM is thrilled to be announcing its first spin-off company and working in partnership with IRICoR," says Michael May, President and CEO of the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine. "In only four years, CCRM has already achieved an important goal to advance regenerative medicine technologies to the market to meet the needs of patients. We look forward to launching a portfolio of regenerative medicine companies in the future through similar collaborations."
Approximately 60,000 people in Canada and the United States are expected to be diagnosed with leukemia in 2015. The success rate of blood system transplantation is strongly correlated to the number of cells used, making ExCellThera's process a valuable breakthrough for clinical application. ExCellThera is also developing related gene therapy products.
About the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine: www.ccrm.ca
About the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer: www.iric.ca
About the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer — Commercialization of Research: www.iricor.ca
About the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering: www.ibbme.utoronto.ca.
About the Université de Montréal: www.umontreal.ca
For further information: Steven J. Klein, Chief Executive Officer, ExCellThera, 514-402-0955, [email protected]; Stacey Johnson, Director, Communications, Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), 647-309-1830, [email protected]