CAMBRIDGE AND NEWCASTLE, UK, September 3, 2020 — Atelerix Ltd (Atelerix), pioneers in the storage and transport of cells at room temperature, has received a significant award under the UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund (UKI2S) Accelerator Programme from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. The funding will support the development of room temperature solutions for shipping therapeutic cells, as part of the company’s “BloodReady” project. This project will explore scalable methods of cell preservation, transport, and re-presentation for patient administration to offer cell therapy developers and manufacturers flexibility in workflows, and remove the need for expedited shipments of frozen packages.
Living cells are fragile and short-lived outside of their natural environment. Therapies that are frozen for storage can reduce the viability and potency of the cells when thawed for injection into the patient, and those that cannot be frozen often require complicated and expensive logistics to ensure their delivery to the hospital and the patient. Extending the shelf-life of the cells could help to ensure that hospitals have flexibility to schedule operating theatres to administer these products, and enable many more patients to be treated with novel, potentially curative therapies.
The Atelerix method encapsulates cells in alginate gel, offering an innovative solution for storing cells at room temperature. The technology enables unfrozen human cells to be transported at temperatures between 4°C and 25°C to help preserve and extend their functional viability and potency. Small-scale research projects have shown the technology to be effective with a wide variety of cell types. The new Innovate UK funding will enable the company to scale these methods, enabling larger volumes of cells to be safely transported while continuing to preserve their viability.
Dr. Mick McLean, CEO, Atelerix Ltd, commented: “Cellular therapies offer the possibility of treatments for diseases and conditions that cannot be approached by conventional drugs. New capabilities enabling storage and transport of therapeutic cells are vital if these life-saving treatments are to be made widely available to many more patients.
Atelerix’s ground-breaking technology eliminates the need for complex cryoshipping logistics and potentially harmful freeze-thaw processes, offering greater flexibility, convenience and security as critical samples are shipped around the world. We believe our innovative human cell preservation technology could be paradigm changing for cold supply logistics, and we are proud to have it recognised by such a highly respected grant funding body.”
Dr. Andrew Muir, investment director, UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund, said: “The application of Atelerix’s core technology to cell therapy is a great example of using additional equity finance from UKI2S, a founding investor in Atelerix, alongside grant funding from Innovate UK to accelerate high growth potential businesses.”
For more information on the Atelerix cell encapsulation technology, visit: https://www.atelerix.co.uk/technology/