Plasticell and EMD Millipore agree licensing deal


To distribute fully defined, xeno-free mesenchymal stem cell differentiation media

Plasticell, a UK stem cell differentiation specialist has licensed EMD Millipore, the life science division of Merck KGaA, to distribute a single-application osteogenic medium discovered using the CombiCult combinatorial screening system.

Plasticell says this medium is serum- and xeno-free, as well as more consistent and more potent than currently available formulations. Under the terms of the agreement, EMD Millipore has secured a licence to distribute the medium globally for research purposes, starting in the third quarter, with Plasticell retaining full rights over therapeutic applications.

Early adopters of the medium include Organovo, a San Diego, US-based biotech company developing tissue bioprinting applications.

Eric Michael David, Organovo’s chief strategy officer, commented: ‘Brief incubation of 3D tissue constructs generated with Organovo’s NovoGen MMX Bioprinter in Plasticell's CombiCult bone differentiation media produces tissue of impressive osteogenic potential, including key bone-specific and mineralisation markers.’

‘We found we could rapidly fabricate functional, fully human tissue derived from MSCs and the ECM proteins they produce. Plasticell's media enabled a remarkable efficiency in tissue fabrication and maturation, and we look forward to continuing to work with Plasticell's technology to generate additional bioprinted 3D tissues from well-characterised, renewable, quality cell sources such as MSCs.’

The optimised osteogenic medium was developed using the CombiCult to perform a rapid screen of more than 3,000 combinations of fully defined cell culture media.

‘The formulation of this medium in under three months from start to finish is a clear demonstration of the capability of the CombiCult technology to deliver market-leading products in record time,’ said Dr Jey Jeyakumar, the principal scientist who performed the factor screen and optimised the media formulation.

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In contrast with all currently available osteogenic media, Plasticell’s formulation is fully defined (serum-free) and contains no xenogeneic components. Moreover, mineralisation can be detected in less than a week, whereas competing products that contain serum require approximately three weeks to attain similar levels of bone formation.