Cult following: JCR asks Plasticell to help it differentiate stem cells

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Cult following: JCR asks Plasticell to help it differentiate stem cells
Cult following: JCR asks Plasticell to help it differentiate stem cells

Related tags: Stem cell

Tokyo, Japan-based JCR Pharmaceuticals has asked UK firm Plasticell to help develop differentiation protocols for its range of candidate stem cell-based therapies.

Under the agreement, financial terms of which were not disclosed - Plasticell will use its CombiCult – combinatorial culture – screening technology to identify which combination of growth media allow JCR to produce the cell types it wants from stems cells in the most efficient and economical way possible.

JCR general manager, Katsuhiko Tachibana​, described the CombiCult platform as “a unique technology which enables us to speed up our R&D effort, potentially contributing to reducing cost, project risk and time to market for our products​.”

This was echoed by Plasticell CEO, Dennis Shaw, who said: “Plasticell’s core capability to provide customers with optimized serum- and xeno-free GMP-grade stem cell differentiation or expansion protocolswhich… has great potential to enhance the competitiveness of the Japanese stem cell effort​.”

JCR most advanced cell therapy product is JR-301, which is a Phase II/III stage graft-versus host disease treatment that is based on adult mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) technology it licensed from Osiris Therapeutics.

In its most recent financial statement​ JCR said it plans to file the treatment for regulatory review sometime before the end of March.


The CombiCult platform has attracted considerable industry attention with, since the launch of the second-generation of the system in 2010, companies like UCB, Sigma-Aldrich and EMD Millipore each using the technology for various applications.

The most recent collaborator – EMD Millipore​ which partnered with Plasticell back in 2012 – used the technology to develop a stem cell differentiation media - OsteoMAX-XF- for bone research and healing applications.

Last year drug discovery firm Progenitor Labs – which separated from Plasticell after receiving funding from GSK’s venture capital  arm SR One – announced that it had used the CombiCult system to produce ‘synthetic’ adult progenitor cells for drug screening.

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