Delivery of Cell and Gene Therapy Transformed

A new product developed between Bedford-based Life Science Group Ltd (LSG) and Coventry University has the potential to transform the delivery of cell and gene therapy and in the longer term make these cutting-edge, personalised treatments more accessible.

CellShip® is a cell shipment and storage medium that has been developed during a three-year, £250,000, highly successful Innovate-UK-Funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).

This medium is a sterile, xeno-free alternative to cryopreservation (the use of very low temperatures to preserve structurally intact living cells and tissues) for the transport and short-term storage of cells and contains a non-toxic additive designed to protect them against shear stress and maintain membrane integrity.

Data from initial tests during the product development process shows the product permits the transportation and short-term storage of a variety of cell types at ambient temperatures, and is a simple and low-cost alternative to cryopreservation, allowing for rapid and immediate recovery of cells.

Cell and gene therapies have the potential to address complex diseases and disorders, such as motor neurone diseases, and many rare disorders for which traditional medical treatments are very challenging.

Jenny Murray, Managing Director of Life Science Group, said: “Personalised medicine is a new approach to healthcare which will revolutionise treatments over the next 15-20 years.

“If you’re going to have a medicine that is not just available to wealthier countries you need a way of transporting cells in an affordable and controllable manner.

“CellShip® offers the ability to transport cells at ambient temperatures, which allows cells to be accurately controlled, to reduce the potentially detrimental loss of cells, and negates the requirement for the addition of toxic cryoprotectants.

“CellShip® would not exist without Coventry University’s technical and scientific expertise, their support and access to their world class research facilities.

“We are keen to maintain this relationship as we continue the process of moving this new product to market through further research and clinical trials.”

The KTP programme is part-funded by Innovate UK and is designed to help businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity by tapping into the knowledge, technology, and skills of a university collaborator.

The three-year KTP between LSG and Coventry University was led by Dr Emma Buick, and overseen by Professor Sebastien Farnaud, Professor in Bio-Innovation and Enterprise at Coventry University’s Research Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences and Professor Derek Renshaw, Professor of Endocrine Physiology at Coventry University’s Research Centre for Applied Biological & Exercise Sciences within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.

The KTP has been awarded the highest grade of ‘Outstanding’ by The Knowledge Transfer Partnership, and LSG Ltd has been shortlisted as a finalist in the ‘Partnership between Academia and Business’ category of the Medilink Midlands Business Awards 2022. The award recognises companies that demonstrate how their collaboration / partnership has or will enhance current service delivery or create new ways of delivering healthcare.

Professor Farnaud said: “The work achieved through this KTP is a breakthrough not only for the scientific community but indirectly for our society as a whole.

“This novel media, which reduces the need for dry ice, and delivers more suitable cells and tissues for all applications, provides better science at lower cost and a more sustainable communication and service between scientists, clinicians and ultimately patients.” 

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