Cellesce last week announced a license agreement for the scale-up of breast organoids with Hubrecht Organoid Technology (HUB), a not-for-profit organization with a biobank of well-characterized organoids derived from patient tissue.
The agreement, which targets breast cancer as part of a new project funded by Innovate UK, builds off an established relationship focused on colorectal cancer.
Cellesce CEO Dr. Mark Treherne told us the goal of the collaboration is to demonstrate that HUB breast cancer organoids can be expanded in Cellesce's bioreactors, while remaining remain genetically and phenotypically stable.
The next steps involve demonstrating "that what goes into the bioreactors is what comes out," Treherne said.
Cellesce works with biobanks and partners with academic institutions – such as the HUB – as well as large pharma companies and contract research organizations (CROs), including Horizon Discovery.
The company's proprietary bioprocessing technology is able to expand tumor-derived organoid lines from patient tissue – a process that to do manually is “very laborious,” Treherne explained.
“We think it’s very important to maintain the 3D structure of a tumor … where you have multiple cell types interacting in a way that is much closer to the tumor environment in vivo,” he added.
Historically focused on colorectal cancer, Treherne said Cellesce plans to move into other forms of cancer where there is an unmet medical need, working in partnership with the HUB and other biobanks to offer a broader range of tumor-derived organoids to the research community.
“The benefits to researchers are providing access to organoids at scale for high-throughput screening and other uses that require large quantities of organoids provided consistently at scale,” he added.
Cellesce earlier this month also announced a collaboration with Repositive, a searchable, web-based platform that connects cancer researchers to the models and services.
In December 2017 the company moved into the Cardiff, Wales-based Medicentre, an incubator for biotech and medtech startups.