Stem cell collaboration could set stage for company’s growth

A stem cell breakthrough at UCLA could mark a big step for a biopharmaceutical company to use its proprietary technology to forge partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and other research institutions.

Fibrocell Sciences technology isolates, purifies and multiplies a patients fibroblast cells, connective skin cells that make collagen. In a research collaboration with the company, UCLA used the technology to isolate, identify and increase the number of different skin cell types, which lead to two rare adult stem cell-like subpopulations being identified in adult human skin SSEA3-expressing regeneration-associated cells associated with skin regeneration after injuries and mesenchymal adult stem cells.

The findings could have broad applications for personalized medicine. Currently, adult stem cells are derived from adipose tissue and bone marrow. Using mesenchymal stem cells would be less invasive and could be more efficient. Mesenchymal stem cells are being used in research to develop osteoblasts, or bone cells; chondrocytes, or cartilage cells; and adipocytes, or fat cells.

David Pernock, the chairman and CEO of Fibrocell, said the move could mark a significant step in the companys growth.

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Pernock added: Once we have shown we can produce these stem cells in meaningful quantities safely and efficiently, I think well be in a position where companies would want to partner with us to develop them for a variety of indications.

In addition to collaborations, the company has been developing its own therapeutics.

The company launched its first U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved therapy Laviv last year. The therapy uses individuals fibroblast cells to reduce nasolabial fold wrinkles, folds on both sides of the face that start from the outer corners of the nose down to the corners of the mouth. It is also advancing its acne therapy through phase 3 clinical trials and its burn scar therapy through phase 2 trials.

Pernock joined the company two years ago from GlaxoSmithKline. He said the developments under way at the company indicate it is growing and expects to add engineering staff to its Exton, Pennsylvania office later this year.

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Stem cell collaboration could set stage for company’s growth