The company behind a pioneering stem cell bandage, believed to be the world's first adult and autologous (patient's own) stem cell treatment designed to heal torn meniscal cartilage, can now take the technology to human clinical trials thanks to an investment from one of the UK's most successful entrepreneurs.
Mr Hugh Osmond, a partner of Sun Capital who helped build Pizza Express into the UK's largest sit-down restaurant chain and founded one of the country's largest pub companies, the Punch Group has completed a 0.65 million funding round for Azellon Cell Therapeutics Ltd, the University of Bristol spin-out company behind the therapy that has to date raised 2.25 million.
The company, which has received approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for the world's first clinical trial using its Cell Bandage product, is funded by existing investors IP Group plc, the developer of intellectual property based businesses and Oxford Technology Management as well as new investors including lead funder, Mr Osmond.
Azellon's Cell Bandage has been designed as an alternative to the current treatment of surgical removal of the meniscus (meniscectomy), a procedure that more than 1.7 million people around the world per year are estimated to undergo. This common orthopaedic procedure often results in the early onset of osteoarthritis, leading to further joint surgery including total knee replacement.
The Cell Bandage, which in vitro (tissue culture) has shown great promise for the healing of meniscal tears, is grown from the patient's own stem cells and will be transplanted in the patient's knee joint within two weeks of extracting the stem cells from bone marrow.
The MHRA approved Phase I/IIa trial will treat ten meniscal tear patients with a cell bandage product, seeded with the patient's own stem cells. The trial will be undertaken at Southmead Hospital in Bristol and is scheduled to begin in
|Contact: Caroline Clancy|
University of Bristol