15 Apr Press release : TreeFrog Therapeutics delivers first batch of Stem Cells (hIPS), with best in class quality check, to cell and gene therapy leader Imagine Institute
C- Stem™ technology introduces a new standard for hIPS suspension culture. Based on biomimetic stem cell culture in 3D, C- Stem™ enables cell therapy production scale-up while ensuring genomic and phenotypic stability
Bordeaux, France, April 16, 2019 – TreeFrog Therapeutics, an expert stem cell company, today announces that it has delivered a first batch of 143 million human IPS cells to Imagine Institute, the leading European center for research, care and education in genetic diseases. The institute brings together 900 of the best doctors, researchers and healthcare personnel in a creative architecture of synergies. Its original continuum of expertise combined with the proximity of patients allows Imagine to make discoveries to benefit patients.
While cell therapy research is booming, with over $7 billion (€6.2bn) in investments in 2018, stem cell production remains a critical bottleneck for the pharmaceutical industry. Human Induced Pluripotent Stem (IPS) cells, which are the raw material for cell therapies, are fragile and difficult to culture.
TreeFrog Therapeutics (TreeFrog) has developed its proprietary technology for stem cell culture: C-Stem™; a 3D cell culture system enabling the mass-production of stem cells with short lead times, while preserving genomic integrity. C-Stem™ aims to significantly lower costs and accelerate bioproduction.
The benefits of TreeFrog’s technology have been shown in the speedy delivery of this batch of 143 million IPS cells. Imagine Institute provided highly qualified IPS cells to TreeFrog, which were amplified in only seven days. Tests performed at Imagine Institute demonstrated high quality for these amplified IPS cells, which have been assessed as one hundred percent identical to their mother cells.
“This first batch demonstrated that the C-Stem technology is capable of delivering for a client with high standards,” said Maxime Feyeux, CSO and co-founder of TreeFrog Therapeutics. “More importantly, Imagine Institute showed that the genomic integrity of the batch was indistinguishable from the original cells. This means our technology preserves cell quality, which is instrumental for the development of cell therapies.”
“Having this first batch delivered and approved by Imagine Institute is a true milestone for us, it constitutes a strong argument for the development of cell therapies based on C-Stem, either in-house or through collaborations. We are aiming for a first-in-man clinical trial with our cells within three to five years,” said Kevin Alessandri, CTO and co-founder of TreeFrog Therapeutics.
“We are delighted with this first collaboration with TreeFrog Therapeutics,” said Nathalie Lefort, head of Imagine’s IPS platform. “Amplifying IPS cells is typically a long and labour-intensive process. Through this partnership, our teams can focus on their stem cell banking and research activities. Moreover, this first batch bodes well for the future. Both turnaround time and quality seem to open new avenues for therapeutic approaches.”
TreeFrog was founded in December 2018; the delivery of this first batch comes only four months after its launch. TreeFrog is already working on further batches of amplified IPS cells to be delivered to Imagine shortly.
About TreeFrog Therapeutics
TreeFrog Therapeutics is a stem cell company that, by overcoming current critical manufacturing issues, will enable millions of patients to access the medical revolution in cell therapies.
TreeFrog Therapeutics has developed C-Stem™, a proprietary technology platform based on 3D stem cell culture. It provides an end-to-end and scalable solution that will dramatically improve the quality of therapeutic cells and reduce treatment costs.
Through strategic partnerships and co-developments with pharma companies and cell therapy initiatives, TreeFrog Therapeutics aims to hasten the clinical development of cell therapies and facilitate market access.
Following a one-year maturation period funded by tech transfert office AST Innovations, TreeFrog was founded in December 2018 in Bordeaux, France. The company, which was awarded the ‘Grand Prix’ at the French i-Lab contest for deep tech innovation, now employs 9 staff at a dedicated bioproduction site.
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