2019 ASCB|EMBO Show Preview: A biologically dynamic duo

Year three of the collaborative ASCB|EMBO meeting presents a wide variety of innovative cell biology research

Mel J. Yeates
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American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)
European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
2019 ASCB|EMBO Meeting
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington, D.C.
December 7-11, 2019
A biologically dynamic duo
Year three of the collaborative ASCB|EMBO meeting presents a wide variety of innovative cell biology research
By Mel J. Yeates
WASHINGTON, D.C.—This December, the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) and European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) joint meeting, ASCB|EMBO 2019, will be held in the capital city of the United States for the first time in 12 years. This will be the 59th ASCB meeting, which is being held in conjunction with EMBO for the third year in a row.
The meeting is expected to attract more than 6,000 scientists, with said researchers coming from all over the world to present their research, hear about the work of their peers, and network and collaborate with colleagues. The meeting includes symposia and minisymposia, award lectures, professional development programs, workshops, poster board presentations and an exhibit hall filled with companies offering products and services related to cell biology.
“The ASCB|EMBO Meeting has everything: scientific diversity, professional development, the chance to see cool new methods and machines, a Doorstep Meeting and the same sort of specialization you got in your small, manageable summer meeting,” said ASCB President Andrew Murray of Harvard University in a news release about the event.
The Doorstep Meeting has the theme of “Cancer: From Genomic Instability to Therapy.” It was organized by Karlene Cimprich of Stanford University and David Pellman of Harvard Medical School and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and will feature leaders in genome instability and therapies who have studied the mechanisms by which cancer cells respond. The meeting will take place on Dec. 7 from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., featuring seven invited speakers.
The 2019 Keynote Lecture will be delivered by Bruce Stillman, president, CEO and William J. Matheson Professor of Cancer Biology at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Stillman’s research focuses on how chromosomes are duplicated in cells, a process that ensures accurate inheritance of genetic material from one generation to the next.
A meeting of this size doesn’t have just one theme, of course, but the breadth and depth of what is covered is reflected by the featured symposia.
“This year’s meeting features eight symposia—sessions with talks given by leaders in fields that Elly Tanaka (Research Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna, Austria) and Sue Jaspersen (Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, Mo.), and the Program Committee they chaired, picked because they represent cell biology’s most exciting areas,” added Murray. “While many talks will cover topics similar to ASCB regulars such as the cytoskeleton and organelles, the symposia were chosen to illustrate how cell biology is at the hub of fields as diverse as modeling and developmental biology, or biochemistry and genomics. Therefore, instead of giving them traditional titles, like ‘Cell biology of the cytoskeleton,’ we’ve tried to find something that better conveys how cell biology acts as an integrating theme for many areas of science.”
Minisymposia and microsymposia will offer graduate students and postdocs the opportunity to showcase their work, with talks reflecting the latest and most innovative research in cell biology across the globe. Poster sessions every afternoon provide another chance for researchers to gather organically to talk and exchange ideas. For the last several years, ASCB meeting organizers have mingled the poster displays among the booths of the hundreds of exhibitors who attend each year, creating a free flow of traffic for poster presenters, and industry collaborators.
The popular member-organized Special Interest Subgroups create a space where researchers can take the lead, formulate a topic of interest and invite selected speakers to expound on that theme. The focus of the Special Interest Subgroups ranges from particular problems, such as “Bacterial Cell Organization and Mechanics of Large Cellular Machines,” to new techniques such as “Tools and Devices for Cell Biology” and “Machine Intelligence and Statistics in Cell Biology.” Other subgroups, like “Building the Cell and Bottom-Up Cell Biology,” cut across disciplines and facilitate connections between diverse groups of cell biologists.
The 2019 ASCB|EMBO meeting will provide plenty of chances for attendees to enhance their professional development skills, as well as their scientific skills.
“At our joint meeting, we offer a wide variety of professional development activities designed to foster the growth of both individuals and groups. Career-focused workshops and hands-on sessions provide training and mentorship to people at all levels, with sessions on finding a graduate school, a postdoctoral lab or a position in industry or academia; navigating through tenure; and how to write and review proposals and papers and produce more accurate and unbiased assessments of research and individuals competing for positions,” Murray stated. “Personal growth is accentuated by sessions on topics such as work-life balance and how to communicate with your boss.”
New additions this year at ASCB|EMBO include a call for posters on the topic “Scholarship of Diversity.” The Public Policy Committee will also be hosting a first-of-its-kind Capitol Hill Day, where some meeting attendees will have a chance to meet with their elected members of Congress.
Murray noted that he considers the 2019 ASCB|EMBO Meeting a “must-do event” due to the sheer number of ideas presented and the potential connections one could make. He posits that attending could very well change the course of one’s scientific career.
“Every time you see in your own research or hear in that of others something unusual, you have a chance to make a unifying connection with some other piece of knowledge, and that connection can produce new ideas and push science forward,” Murray concluded. “But you can only make the connection if the other piece of knowledge, or something related to it, is already in your mental filing system. The more items and ideas there are in your relational database and the more diverse those objects are, the more likely you are to make exciting connections.”

Keynote Lecture and Symposia
Keynote Lecture
Saturday, Dec. 7, 4:30 p.m.
“Copying the Genome in Eukaryotic Cells: Insights into the Evolution of Origin Specification and its Relationship to Gene Silencing Mechanisms” by Bruce Stillman, Cold Spring Harbor Labs
Beyond Figure 7: Integrating modeling and experiment in cell biology
Sunday, Dec. 8, 8 a.m.
“Physics Of Adherent Cells” by Margaret Gardel, University of Chicago
“Theory And Experiments In The Study Of The Mitotic Spindle” by Iva Tolic, Ruđer Bošković Institute, Croatia
“Bottom-up Engineering of Protein Pattern Formation” by Petra Schwille, Max-Plank Institute of Biochemistry, Germany
Attack of the Killer Bugs: The cell biology of infectious disease
Sunday. Dec. 8, 9:45 a.m.
“Unravelling the Hallmarks of Apicomplexan Parasitism” by Sebastian Lourido, Whitehead Institute and MIT
“Characterization Of The Intracellular Pathogen Response In C. Elegans” by Emily R. Troemel, University of California, San Diego
Decisions, Decisions: How cells choose their fates
Sunday, Dec. 8, 9:45 a.m.
“Cellular Biographies: Reconstructing Developmental Trajectories” by Alex Schier, University of Basel, Switzerland and Harvard University
“Time To Get Up: Awakening Stem Cells In The Brain” by Andrea H. Brand, The Gurdon Institute, UK
21st Century Machinery: The structure, function, and evolution of protein machines
Monday, Dec. 9, 8 a.m.
“The Kinetochore, An Intrinsically Divisive Molecular Machine” by Andrea Musacchio, Max-Plank Institute of Molecular Physiology, Germany
“Mechanisms Of Centriole Assembly” by Pierre Gönczy, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland
“Condensin-based Chromosome Organization: New Insights From In Vitro Assays” by Tatsuya Hirano, Chromosome Dynamics Laboratory, RIKEN, Japan
What Blueprints Tell Us: How genomics informs cell biology
Monday, Dec. 9, 9:45 a.m.
“Centromeres: Scanning Genomes for Signs of Conflict” by Harmit S. Malik, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/HHMI
“From Phenotypes To Pathways: Global Analysis Of Cellular Networks Using Systematic Yeast Genetics And Single Cell Image Analysis” by Brenda Andrews, University of Toronto, Canada
Getting from Here to There: Individual and collective cell migrations
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 8 a.m.
“Dendritic Cell Migration At Various Scales” by Ana Maria Lennon-Duménil, Institut Curie, France
“Collective Cell Movements: Cellular And Molecular Dynamics At The Leading Edge” by Rodrigo Fernandez-Gonzalez, University of Toronto, Canada
“Mechanosensation Of Tight Junctions By Zo-1 Phase Separation And Flow” by Carl-Philipp Heisenberg, Institute of Science and Technology, Austria
Google Maps of the Cell: Controlling intracellular traffic flow and direction
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 9:45 a.m.
“Building Memories: Cell Biological Mechanisms Underpinning Synapse Assembly And Function” by Daniel Colón-Ramos, Yale University
“Slippery Cargo Takes Multiple Routes: Identifying Bottlenecks In Lipid Transport And Storage” by Elina Ikonen, University of Helsinki, Finland
D’Arcy Thompson at 100: Controlling Cell Shape and Function
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 11:20 a.m.
“How Cell Shape Arises - The Minimal, Self-propagating Systems That Create Rod Shaped Cells And Determine Their Width” by Ethan Garner, Harvard University
“Signals, Forces, And Cells: Decoding Tissue Morphogenesis” by Jennifer Zallen, Sloan-Kettering Institute/HHMI

Sunday, Dec. 8, 4:15 p.m. to 6:50 p.m.
Education Minisymposium: Biology Competency for the Classroom and Beyond
1: Chromosome Structure
2: Genetic and Environmental Drivers of Cellular Metabolic Phenotypes
3: Higher Order Cytoskeletal Structures
4: Membrane Trafficking: Vesicle Formation, Cargo Sorting, and Fusion
5: Quantitative Approaches to Cell Biology
Monday, Dec. 9, 4:15 p.m. to 6:50 p.m.
6: Cell Shape, Cytoskeletal Mechanics and Mechanosensing
7: From Stem Cells to Organoid Biology
8: Lipid Regulation and Transport in Membrane Remodeling
9: Managing Gene Expression: DNA to RNA and Beyond
10: Mitosis and Meiosis
11: New Tools and Organisms in Quantitative Cell Biology
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 4:15 p.m. to 6:50 p.m.
12: Autophagy, Protein Turnover, and Quality Control
13: Biological Phase Separation: From Phenomenon to Function
14: Cell Polarity
15: Cytoskeleton in Vitro
16: Dynamics of Morphogenesis in Cells, Tissues, and Organisms
17: Nucleus Structure and Dynamics
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 8:30 a.m. to 11:05 a.m.
18: Cell Biological Aspects of Immunity
19: Cell Migration Mechanisms in Development and Disease
20: Principles of Organelle Spatial Organization and Interactions
21: Regulation of Cell Division
22: Regulation of Cytoskeletal Dynamics and Transport

Sunday, Dec. 8, 11 a.m. to Noon
1: Autophagy, Protein Turnover & Quality Control
2: Cell Polarity & Cilia Dynamics
3: Immune and Subcellular Response
4: Intracellular Organization & Phase Transitions
5: Microtubule Motors & Transport
6: Mitosis and Meiosis
Monday, Dec. 9, 11 a.m. to Noon
7: Cell Biology of the Nucleus
8: Cell Migration in Development and Cancer
9: Cytoskeletal Regulation of Cell Migration
10: Lipid Trafficking, Organelles & Their Interactions
11: Microtubule Stability & Dynamics
12: Regulation of Cell Division
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 11 a.m. to Noon.
13: Actin Filaments: Binding and Assembly
14: Cellular Imaging of Cytoskeletal Dynamics
15: Dynamics of the Genome and Epigenome
16: Intracellular Trafficking & Membrane Recycling
17: New Perspectives in Cell Biology: Frontiers of Microscopy
18: Stem Cell Differentiation and Techniques

Special Interest Subgroups
Saturday, Dec. 7, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Subgroup A: Biological Timing: Molecular Clocks and Timers, from Systems to Synthetic Biology
Subgroup B: Building the Cell
Subgroup C: Cell Biology Meets the Hippo Pathway
Subgroup D: Cellular Symmetry Breaking
Subgroup E: Kinesin Motors - What is Conventional?
Subgroup F: Machine Intelligence and Statistics in Cell Biology
Subgroup G: New Frontiers in Multifactor Regulation of Cytoskeleton
Subgroup H: Nucleoporin Roles in Tissue Architecture, Development and Genetic Disease
CSCB/ASCB Subgroup: Organelle Membrane Contact Sites and Cell Plasticity Control
Subgroup J: Visualizing Immune Cell Activation
Saturday, Dec. 7, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Subgroup K: Bacterial Cell Organization
Subgroup L: Bottom-Up Cell Biology
Subgroup M: Building Complexity to Understand the Microtubule Cytoskeleton: From Regulation of Microtubule Dynamics to Coordination of Motor Ensembles
Subgroup N: Epithelia and their Stem Cells
Subgroup O: Lipids and Proteins in the Secretory Pathway- Homeostasis and Stress
Subgroup P: Mechanics of Large Cellular Machines
Subgroup Q: Structure and Function of Cilia
Subgroup R: Tools and Devices for Cell Biology
Subgroup S: Tunneling Nanotubes and Other Cell Protrusions: Structure, Composition and Role in Inter-cellular Communication and Disease
Subgroup T: Using Advanced Imaging to Redefine the Cell and Tissue Biology
Sunday, Dec. 8, 4:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Subgroup U: The Cellular and Molecular Basis of Invasive Metastatic Cancer
Monday, Dec. 9, 4:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Subgroup V: Redrawing the Cellular Map: Cytoskeletal Forces, Organelles and the Crossroads
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 4:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Subgroup W: Maintenance of Genome Integrity in Health and Disease
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 8:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Subgroup X: Cell Dynamics and Matrix Interactions in Three-Dimensional Environments

Scientific Workshops
Sunday, Dec. 8, 4:15 p.m. to 6:50 p.m.
From Single Molecules to Understanding of the Cellular Processes using Biophysical Methods
Monday, Dec. 9, 4:15 p.m. to 6:50 p.m.
Optogenetics & Imaging Techniques
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 4:15 p.m. to 6:50 p.m.
Recent Advances in Single-Cell Transcriptomics


Mogrify musters $16 million more
CAMBRIDGE, U.K.—Mogrify Ltd. announced the initial close of its Series A funding in mid-October. The company raised $16 million in this round, bringing the total investment to over $20 million to date. The funding will support internal cell therapy programs and the development and out-license of novel intellectual property (IP) relating to cell conversions of broad therapeutic interest. Mogrify is actively recruiting and will increase its workforce to 60 scientific, operational and commercial staff located at its state-of-the-art facility on Cambridge Science Park.
The funding round was led by existing investor Ahren Innovation Capital. Parkwalk, 24Haymarket, and the University of Bristol Enterprise Fund III also contributed to the fundraise.
“Mogrify’s technology is well positioned to disrupt the global cell therapy market,” noted Alice Newcombe-Ellis, founder and managing partner at Ahren. “The company has grown rapidly since February, appointing a world-class management team and delivering strongly against its business plans. We look forward to supporting Mogrify as it continues to go from strength to strength.”
Mogrify has developed a proprietary direct cellular conversion technology, which reportedly makes it possible to transmogrify any mature human cell type into any other without going through a pluripotent stem cell- or progenitor cell-state. The company is deploying this platform to develop novel cell therapies addressing musculoskeletal, autoimmune, cancer immunotherapy, ocular and respiratory diseases, as well as generating a broad IP position relating to cell conversions that exhibit safety, efficacy and scalable manufacturing profiles suitable for development as cell therapies.
Mogrify launched early this year with $3.7 million in seed funding from Ahren, 24Haymarket and Dr. Darrin M. Disley, CEO of Mogrify. The company went on to secure grants from Innovate UK and SBRI Healthcare.
“I am delighted we have been able to make an initial close of this fundraising round, with the backing of both existing and new investors,” Disley said. “Due to the significant interest, we have been able to secure this growth funding without engaging in a protracted and distracting fundraising process. Having now raised over $20 million, we can focus on delivery of our business strategy with the support of an aligned investor group. We will continue to engage with high-caliber investors with computational biology and cell therapy domain expertise as part of our ongoing investor relations and capital markets strategy.”
Newcombe-Ellis and Alastair Kilgour, chief investment officer at Parkwalk, have both joined Mogrify’s board of directors along with Dr. Karin Schmitt, the company’s chief business officer.
“The science and technology base Mogrify are building is truly unique and disruptive. If successful, the positive effect on patient outcomes across a wide range of diseases will be staggering,” noted Kilgour.

An acoustic cell processing platform for MilliporeSigma
BURLINGTON, Mass.—MilliporeSigma recently acquired FloDesign Sonics of Wilbraham, Mass., a developer of a unique acoustic cell processing platform for the industrialization of cell and gene therapy manufacturing. Financial details were not disclosed.
“Chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapies, or CAR T for short, employs the body’s own immune systems to fight cancer by turning T cells into targeted therapeutics. This revolutionary cancer treatment is challenging and complex, with the process often taking up to a month,” said Udit Batra, CEO of MilliporeSigma. “Our acquisition of FloDesign Sonic will industrialize the manufacturing of autologous cell therapy, allowing these types of potentially life-saving treatments to reach more patients, faster.”
MilliporeSigma is reportedly the first company to make acoustic technology available for cell therapy manufacturing. Acoustic cell processing is a disruptive technology that allows for the manipulation of cells with ultrasonic waves. FloDesign Sonics’ acoustic cell processing platform allows enhanced cell washing and concentration for manufacturing cell therapies. The acquisition is a strategic fit for MilliporeSigma, strengthening the ability to advance cell-based therapies to patients.
“MilliporeSigma is the best home for FloDesign Sonics, our acoustic cell processing technology and our employees,” stated Stanley Kowalski III, co-founder, chairman and CEO of FloDesign Sonics. “The opportunity for FloDesign Sonics to become part of a world-class, 351-year-old science and technology company is very rewarding.”

A T cell team-up
PHILADELPHIA & OXFORDSHIRE, U.K.—Adaptimmune Therapeutics plc, a leader in T cell therapy to treat cancer, and Cryoport, Inc., a temperature-controlled logistics solutions company, have announced a three-year agreement to ensure safe and fully monitored transport of Adaptimmune’s cell therapies.
Adaptimmune prioritizes optimizing manufacturing and supply operations, as well as reducing “vein-to-vein” time for patients in clinical trials and ahead of commercialization. The agreement with Cryoport will contribute to this, alongside other solutions including investment in the latest systems and technology and digitization of the supply chain information.
“Rapidly and safely delivering a patient’s cells back to the hospital after the cells have been armed with our TCRs and frozen for shipment is an essential capability for us,” said John Lunger, Adaptimmune’s chief patient supply officer. “Control and monitoring are critical because a simple temperature variation can jeopardize these cells and, ultimately, the product we supply to patients. With Cryoport’s technology and expertise, we will be able to track the conditions, location and handling of these cells—a key capability as we prepare to ship commercially in 2022.”
This agreement follows a previous relationship between both companies to support research-based shipments. Cryoport also has a strong partnership with Adaptimmune’s preferred specialty logistics provider, further enabling seamless customer support and optimal handling of critical shipments.
“Adaptimmune has a robust pipeline of therapies and a strong in-house manufacturing platform, which makes us very pleased to be expanding and extending our relationship with them under this new, exclusive logistics agreement. Today’s joint announcement underscores the strong relationship between our companies and highlights the growing importance of temperature-controlled logistics solutions in advancing the life sciences at large,” stated Jerrell Shelton, Cryoport’s CEO.
Cryoport’s proprietary SmartPak II Condition Monitoring System provides near real-time information while tracking location, temperature, orientation, humidity and shock, as well as other factors to enable the transport of temperature sensitive cell therapies. This information is automatically collected and retained by Cryoport’s cloud-based Cryoportal Logistics Management Platform, which gives companies the ability to intervene and make corrections while a shipment is in transit.

Digging into macrophage differentiation
SAN DIEGO—Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine wanted to know: “If most tissue-specific macrophages start out from the same precursor cells, how do they become so specialized? What makes a Kupffer cell a Kupffer cell and not a microglial cell in the brain or a macrophage in the blood?” To find out, they tracked the conversion from precursor cell to Kupffer cell in exquisite detail over two weeks.
 Their study, published in the journal Immunity, sets the stage for understanding how macrophage specialization gets disrupted by—or contributes to—liver disease.
“We’ve been working on these cell identity regions of the genome for many years,” said senior author Dr. Christopher K. Glass, a professor of medicine and cellular and molecular medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “For a long time, we had this idea that maybe looking at how genomic regions change over time could be used as a powerful system to understand how precursor cells differentiate. This is the first proof-of-concept for this approach, and we used it to discover a major cellular mechanism that controls cell development.”
Kupffer cells are named for their discoverer, Karl Wilhelm von Kupffer, who first observed them in 1876. Kupffer cells are known to be altered in certain liver diseases, although whether that’s a cause or effect of the disease is unclear.
In Glass’ study, the team engineered mice with which they could easily clear all Kupffer cells from the liver, without disturbing other cell types. Sensing the loss of Kupffer cells, the livers quickly recruited monocytes circulating in the blood. The monocytes homed to the recently vacated blood vessel linings.
As the monocytes transformed into Kupffer-like cells over two weeks, the researchers tracked their genetic, molecular and cellular changes. The team pinpointed the parts of the genome that are switched on over the two-week differentiation process. By characterizing these regions, researchers could determine the proteins that are being specifically activated to transform the monocytes into Kupffer cells. With these protein identities known, they could infer which signals were coming from the liver to make it all happen. Some of the important cell signaling molecules involved included the Notch ligand DLL4, TGF-beta and LXR ligands.
In the end the newly specialized liver macrophages weren’t quite Kupffer cells, Glass noted, because true Kupffer cells are derived from fetal cells during normal development, not from blood monocytes. But these new, monocyte-derived cells were nearly identical in terms of gene expression and function.
“We essentially reverse-engineered how liver tissue instructs precursor cells to specialize into Kupffer cells,” Glass said. “And while we found strong evidence for the proteins and signals involved in Kupffer cell differentiation, to prove those proteins do what we think they do, the next step will be to delete the genes that encode those proteins and see if we get the predicted outcomes.”
The team is now exploring how Kupffer cell behavior changes in the context of disease, such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

Sprucing up the iSpecimen Marketplace
LEXINGTON, Mass.—In September, iSpecimen announced a new partnership with new providers of diseased and healthy hematologic tissue to offer a large, integrated network of available donors and collection sites. Researchers can now readily access cells with highly specific characteristics through the iSpecimen Marketplace, an online platform that increases access to human biospecimens from specific patients and healthy donors who can provide them.
iSpecimen has expanded its global partner network, enabling researchers to efficiently procure bone marrow aspirate, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (normal and mobilized) and whole blood—all with corresponding donor profile/clinical data from healthy and diseased donors. Researchers increasingly use these types of tissue and cell products in their work to develop stem cell therapies, immunotherapies, vaccines, diagnostics, new treatments for infectious and autoimmune diseases and in cell-based assays to advance drug discovery and preclinical development.
“Hematopoietic stem and immune cells are used in some of the newest and most exciting medical science occurring today,” said Wayne Vaz, vice president of growth and corporate development. “There is a clear market trend towards increasing supply chain efficiency while maintaining a high level of regulatory compliance, data integrity, product selection, speed, and scalability. With the iSpecimen Marketplace, everything is in one place online, streamlining the procurement of specimens much like popular websites do for flights, cars and hotels.”
iSpecimen has also upgraded the iSpecimen Marketplace experience for hematopoietic and immune cell customers, enabling a convenient and customizable online product selection experience. Researchers can refine their specimen selections involving numerous parameters such as HLA type (low and high resolution), blood type, body mass index, ethnicity, race, age and gender. The iSpecimen Marketplace also offers the industry’s most comprehensive donor screening capability, permitting researchers to select the required scope of infectious disease testing such as CMV, hepatitis (B&C), HIV, West Nile Virus, syphilis, Chagas and more.

TreeFrog Therapeutics takes €3 million more
BORDEAUX, France—TreeFrog Therapeutics announced in September that it received close to €3 million ($3.3M) in non-dilutive funding from French and European programs. The company received €450,000 ($478.8k) from the French government as part of Phase 2 of the i-Nov Innovation Challenge, as well as €2.4 million (about $2.6 million) from the European Commission as part of Phase 2 of the SME Instrument (now EIC Accelerator, part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 program).
“Being supported and recognized as a strategic asset by the European Commission and by the French government marks the beginning of a new chapter in TreeFrog’s history. Over the past year, we have secured intellectual property, successfully closed a Series A round, set up the operations team and established the company’s governance. We now have two years to complete the next chapter, which is all about entering the market to provide patients with access to safe and affordable cell therapies,” said Maxime Feyeux, president and CSO of TreeFrog.
This funding will be used to accelerate the cGMP certification and scale-up of C-Stem, TreeFrog Therapeutics’ technology for the mass-production of cell therapies. Compatible with conventional bioreactors, C-Stem will turn into a regulatory body compliant bioproduction platform to service the cell therapy industry with stem cells and differentiated therapeutic cells.
The company aims to deliver its first clinical-grade batches by 2021, introducing a new quality standard for cellular products and reducing production costs by at least 10-fold.
As an i-Nov winner, between now and 2020 TreeFrog Therapeutics will receive €450k from Bpifrance. The project will also receive funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program through the SME Instrument Phase 2. TreeFrog Therapeutics will receive €2.4 million over the 2019-2022 period.
TreeFrog Therapeutics developed C-Stem, its proprietary technology for stem cell culture, as a 3D cell culture system that enables the mass production of stem cells in bioreactors with short lead times, while preserving genomic integrity. C-Stem aims to significantly lower costs and accelerate bioproduction to treat millions of patients living with currently incurable chronic and degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, type 1 diabetes and heart failure.

Mel J. Yeates

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