22 January 2009

The London Project to Cure Blindness moves a step closer to achieving its aim as UCL Business announces the completion of an exclusive in-licence and collaborative research programme with Axordia Ltd.

UCL Business have entered into an agreement for the exclusive supply of GMP cells manufactured by Axordia Ltd (recently acquired by the Intercytex Group plc) in order to support The London Project, a pioneering programme based at UCL’s Institute of Ophthalmology in connection with research into the treatment and cure of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The Axordia cells will be developed by UCL researchers working on The London project to carry out clinical trials with a view to developing a commercial product. UCLB is in discussions with interested commercial partners.

Mr Cengiz Tarhan, Managing Director of UCL Business said “In Axordia we have found the necessary expertise to unlock the stem cell research programme being carried out at UCL’s Institute of Ophthalmology. This partnership is expected to deliver results and get us closer to finding a cure for AMD.”

Nick Higgins, CEO of Intercytex commented “We are delighted to be working with UCL and their world-leading Institute of Opthalmology. Our recent acquisition of Axordia clearly demonstrates our enthusiasm for this very exciting project and the huge potential of stem cells to cure intractable diseases”.

The London Project
The London Project to Cure Blindness aims to make the most of human embryonic stem cells to prevent blindness and restore sight in patients with AMD by 2011. The goal is to replace cells essential for “seeing” lost by disease at the back of the eye. The aim is to repair and regenerate the aged diseased eye using human embryonic stem cells (exclusively provided by Axordia) which have been transformed into the cells affected in AMD – the support cells for the photoreceptors (retinal pigment epithelium) and the photoreceptors. The cells will be surgically implanted into a clinical population of AMD patients.

Professor Pete Coffey, director of the London Project said “The London Project to Cure Blindness team is well on its way towards developing a cure for the largest cause of blindness in the West, AMD. A project of this size, spanning 5 years, involves multiple partnerships with the required expertise to collaborate at various stages of development. The collaboration with Axordia will provide us with a cell bank to carry out crucial research and UCL Business has been instrumental in finding the perfect partnership”.

About Intercytex
Intercytex is a leading developer of regenerative medicine products. Intercytex uses its fully integrated cell technology platform to develop living, human cell-based products, at commercially viable scale in attractive markets.Intercytex commenced operations in 2000. In addition to its head office in Cambridge, UK, it has a GMP clinical production facility with research and development laboratories in Manchester, UK. Additional laboratories are located in Boston, USA.In December 2008 Intercytex acquired the entire share capital of Axordia Ltd. Axordia is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Intercytex Group plc.Intercytex’ shares trade on AIM, a market of the London Stock Exchange, under the ticker symbol ICX.L.

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Further Information
For further information contact Dr Sophie Khanna, Senior Business Manager, UCL Business PLC on 020 7679 9000, (s.khanna@uclb.com)