VANCOUVER and VICTORIA, BC—Replicel Life Sciences is pleased to present news of a signed collaborative research project agreement with the University of Victoria (UVic) in Victoria, B.C., Canada. The project will be co-funded through a grant from the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) under the NSERC Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) program.
The collaboration will focus on approaches to optimize cell culture platforms, such as those employed in RepliCel’s cell therapy manufacturing, for eventual commercial-scale production. The project aims to employ microfluidic technology and advanced materials to develop an innovative platform for larger scale adherent cell culture in small volumetric footprints. The project will be led by UVic’s Dr. Mohsen Akbari, Assistant Professor at the University of Victoria and Director of the Laboratory for Innovations in Microengineering (LiME). Co-leading the project will be RepliCel’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Kevin McElwee who is also Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK.
Dr. Mohsen Akbari received his PhD (2011) in Applied Sciences from Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, British Columbia). He also conducted research from 2012-2015 as a postdoctoral fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston, USA), Harvard Medical School, and Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Dr. Akbari is currently an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Victoria, Canada.
Akbari is also affiliated with Center for Biomedical Research (CBR) and Centre for Advanced Materials and Related Technology (CAMTEC) at the University of Victoria. His research lies at the interface of cellular biology, biomaterials, and microtechnologies with a focus on the biofabrication of engineered tissue substitutes for regenerative medicine, development of biomimetic tissue models using microengineering techniques for disease modeling and drug discovery, and development of advanced drug delivery systems for therapeutic applications.
Dr. Akbari has 46 peer-reviewed articles (citations=+1650, h index=21) in high impact journals including Science Translational Medicine, Nature Microtechnologies and Nanoengineering, Biotechnology Advances, and Advanced Materials, three book chapters, three patent applications/disclosures and more than 30 conference presentations in prestigious conferences such as µTAS, World Biomaterials Congress, and IMECE, and ASME. Dr. Akbari is the recipient of several institutional, national, and international awards such as the British Columbia Innovation Award, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) postdoctoral fellowship, and the Kaiser Foundation Award. Recently, he was recognized as a rising Canadian star in global health.
“We are very pleased to have NSERC CRD support to work with Dr. Akbari and his team at UVic. He is one of the world’s emerging experts on biomedical engineering and the employment of advanced materials and micro-technologies for cell and tissue culture. The collaboration represents a unique opportunity to leverage his expertise and non-dilutive grant funding to innovate around RepliCel’s technologies in ways expected to improve the Company’s eventual commercial-scale manufacturing,” stated RepliCel President and CEO, R. Lee Buckler.
The two-year NSCERC CRD funding commitment and collaboration agreement with UVic may result in publications, patents, and/or the development of technologies with potential applications and value broader than RepliCel’s immediate uses. New intellectual property arising from the project will be the sole and exclusive property of UVic with a fully paid, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to RepliCel for any commercial purposes. RepliCel has the option to negotiate an exclusive license to such intellectual property from UVic for commercial purposes important to the Company.