New stem cell company, StrataStem, which is able to study ‘Alzheimer’s disease in a dish’ , has just launched in Manchester.
Spun-out of The University of Manchester by its technology transfer division UMIP, StrataStem was founded by Stem Cell Research Fellow, Dr Lisa Mohamet and Dr Chris Ward, a Reader in Stem Cell Biology.
With its patented technology, StrataStem accelerates the process of making neural cells from patients’ stem cells, while eliminating the need for the use of animal models for testing.
A significant advantage of this method is that it is based on human cells and will be a better way to assess new drugs for the treatment of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
The founders have just launched a new website www.stratastem.com and are hoping to raise funds so products can be launched to market.
Dr Mohamet said: “We are a stem cell based technology company that uses induced stem cells as a model to help us understand more about Alzheimer’s disease.
“We have chosen to focus our efforts on Alzheimer’s disease because there’s a huge unmet clinical need.
“There have been no new drugs in the past 10 years to effectively treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, let alone a cure. We hope to repurpose drugs that already work for other conditions that could provide us with a shortcut to new treatments.”
StrataStem’s customers will be researchers, pharmaceutical and bio-tech companies.
They can utilise StrataStem’s technology to increase the chances of both understanding more about the disease and creating a drug both faster and cheaper, so that benefit can be passed to Alzheimer’s sufferers.
Dr Mohamet said: “This exciting technology allows us to transform any cell – such as hair or skin – from a patient with a disease into a neuron, creating a replica model of the patients’ cells in a dish, previously, this was only possible post-mortem.
“StrataStem’s patented technology has made the whole process quicker and more robust. “
Dr Mohamet said having this ‘better model to test drugs’ means failure is less likely.
She also said “The company is now entering an exciting growth phase and is seeking strategic investment to expedite its commercial activities.
“We’ve received funding from The University of Manchester, The UMIP Premier Fund (with support from UMIP and MTI Partners) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
“It’s an exciting time as we are bringing together stem cell technology and drug discovery, which can revolutionise medicine and how we treat patients.
“To be part of that is amazing in itself and if we get the right partner on board this will make a genuine difference to people’s lives.”
Follow StrataStem on Twitter @StrataStem