Spinout News / UCLB News

Expert Consortium awarded £2m to advance trachea replacement technology

5 August 2013

A tracheal replacement project, led by Videregen Ltd and involving a team of UK experts, has been awarded almost £2m by the UK Technology Strategy Board under its Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy competition. The consortium will use the funds to progress a promising clinical prototype through a rigorous development process and early clinical trials for the treatment of severe structural airway disease (SSAD). The market for this life-threatening condition is thought to be worth more than £70m pa.

As well as Videregen as the commercial partner, the consortium includes the Cell Therapy Catapult as clinical trial sponsor (plus for regulatory pathway expertise), NHS Blood and Transplant (for tissue sourcing and scaffold processing), the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and UCL (University College London; for clinical tissue engineering and the lead clinical investigator). Other organisations, such as UCL Business, the Technology Transfer Organisation of UCL will be supporting the consortium, protecting any new Intellectual property which arises and will be responsible for commercialisation of the resulting technology.  Key activities for the team include optimising process development and GMP manufacturing, liaising with the regulatory agencies, conduct of clinical trials and generation of health economic data.

SSAD is associated with significant airway obstruction leading to high levels of morbidity and a 50% mortality rate if not treated successfully. Current treatment involves surgery which has a high incidence of failure and lack of efficacy. In contrast, this tracheal replacement approach, which involves repopulating an acellular trachea ‘scaffold’ with the patient’s own stem cells and epithelial cells, has the potential to be a one-off treatment without the need for a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs thereafter.

Dr Steve Bloor, CEO of Videregen Ltd, said “Everyone in the tracheal replacement project team is delighted to have received this significant funding and validation from the Technology Strategy Board. The consortium brings together many of the UK’s experts in their respective areas to take forward this promising treatment for severe structural airways disease. The TSB funding will enable us to formally demonstrate the technology platform in a scientifically and clinically rigorous way, moving it further towards commercial reality.

About the Cell Therapy Catapult
The Cell Therapy Catapult is a centre of translational excellence for cell therapy and regenerative medicine. Its vision is for the UK to be a global leader in the development, delivery and commercialisation of cell therapy, making it a location for business start-up and growth. Based in London at Guy’s Hospital, the centre plans to take products into early clinical trials, providing clinical, technical, manufacturing and regulatory expertise and access to the NHS. There will be a focus on collaboration and lowering barriers to investment and funding, and operations will grow rapidly throughout 2013. The global cell therapy industry was estimated to have an turnover of $1bn in 2011 and is estimated to grow to $5bn by 2014 (Mason Regen Med 5(3) 2010, Mason Regen Med 6(3) 2011).

For more information, please go to: ct.catapult.org.uk

About Catapults
Catapult centres are being established by the Technology Strategy Board, as a new addition to its range of programmes to stimulate innovation. They are places where the best of the UK’s innovative businesses and researchers work together to bring new products and services more quickly to commercialisation. Focusing on areas with great market potential, Catapults will open up global opportunities for the UK and generate economic growth for the future. In addition to the Cell Therapy Catapult, catapults for High Value Manufacturing, Offshore Renewable Energy, Satellite Applications, the Connected Digital Economy, Future Cities and Transport Systems are being established.

About UCLB
UCLB is a leading technology transfer company that supports and commercialises research and innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK’s top research-led universities. UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations from UCL academics. UCLB has a strong track record in commercialising medical technologies and provides technology transfer services to UCL’s associated hospitals; University College London Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Royal Free London Hospital. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from laboratory to market.

UCLB supports UCL’s Grand Challenges of increasing UCL’s positive impact on and contribution to Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing.

For further information, please visit: www.uclb.com

About the Technology Strategy Board
The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy.

For more information please visit: www.innovateuk.org

About Videregen
Videregen is a start-up regenerative medicine company created to develop and exploit many years of experience and know-how in the field of tissue decellularisation, regenerative technologies and translation from laboratory to market. The company’s platform technology (developed by Northwick Park Institute for Medical Research) uses decellularised organ scaffolds seeded with the patient’s own cells to create non-immunogenic, regenerative bespoke organ replacements with a focus on key unmet clinical needs in the area of organ transplantation and replacement which represents a substantial burden to healthcare finances.

For more information, please go to: www.videregen.com

Northwick Park Institute for Medical Research (NPIMR) is a medical research charity, affiliated to UCL. We are dedicated to the acquisition and dissemination, by research, education and publishing, of ethical research based data for the benefit of patients both nationally and internationally. Our expertise is specifically in the invention, development, pre-clinical and safety evaluation of novel tissue scaffolds and their rapid progress to clinical use.

About UCL
Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. We are among the world’s top universities, as reflected by our performance in a range of international rankings and tables. According to the Thomson Scientific Citation Index, UCL is the second most highly cited European university and the 15th most highly cited in the world. UCL has nearly 27,000 students from 150 countries and more than 9,000 employees, of whom one third are from outside the UK. The university is based in Bloomsbury in the heart of London, but also has two international campuses – UCL Australia and UCL Qatar. Our annual income is more than £800 million.

www.ucl.ac.uk | Follow us on Twitter | Watch our YouTube channel

About Royal Free
The Royal Free attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver, kidney and bone marrow transplantation, haemophilia, surgery for hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) conditions, clinical neurosciences, renal, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and is a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.

For further information, visit: www.royalfree.nhs.uk

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. Its remit includes the provision of a reliable, efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England and North Wales. It is also the organ donor organisation for the whole of the UK and is responsible for matching and allocating donated organs.