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Pharmacells secures European partnership


A pioneering Scottish company in the field of stem cell research and storage has expanded its horizons thanks to the support of Enterprise Europe Network.

Lanarkshire-based Pharmacells has developed a unique process for harvesting, isolating and storing a recently-discovered type of adult stem cell which can generate most cell types in the body and has great potential for future personalised medicine.

Through Oristem® – the company’s private stem cell banking service - donors from the age of 12 can store their VSELs for personalised future clinical therapies as a form of bio-insurance. Pharmacells also supplies VSELs for a range of projects including Glasgow University’s stroke research and a number of leading North American stem cell research institutions.

With ambitions to take the business to the next level, Pharmacells was seeking suitable academic or commercial partners with innovative cell culture media, and worked with the Network to identify potential contacts.

 “We were looking to find suitable media that kept our VSELs in a stable state to help improve the key cell culture processes in our therapeutic development projects and prevent unwanted spontaneous differentiation,” explains Athol Haas, CEO of Pharmacells.

“We did not have the resources to engage directly with international companies but Enterprise Europe Network generated a lot of interest from Western Europe in our sector.”

Working directly with Dr Claire Melville, Athol and his team were able to source and connect with an Italian research partner who had access to the cutting-edge technology required. The partners will now work closely together to develop new cell culture processes using their media for potential therapeutic applications.

“Enterprise Europe Network provided us with an excellent and professional service and made the entire process of finding a partner more simple for us,” adds Athol. “Claire stays in regular contact and we have been able to overcome a problem which was hindering our expansion program.  The Network’s involvement has allowed us to focus on developing new overseas business and partners in the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Pakistan, Lebanon and India, opening up valuable new markets.”

As well as this, Claire believes that Pharmacells’ successes will have a knock-on effect in helping to cement Scotland as a key player in the global life sciences sector.

“It’s great to see a Scottish firm pioneering the storage and harvesting of this newly-discovered source of stem cells and expanding their global business,” she says. “As the only company in the world offering this service, Pharmacells is helping to build Scotland’s already strong reputation in life sciences. 

“Our Network allows us to find specialist companies in particular sectors and through our focussed biotech and pharma sector group we were able to find the appropriate research and development partner Pharmacells needed.”

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