February 8, 2022
Morphocell Technologies Announces a New Stem Cell Process that May Pave Way for Liver Cell Therapy and Drug Development
Montreal, QC, February 8, 2022 – Morphocell Technologies Inc. announces the development of an innovative, scalable method for generating cells that may enable future cell therapies for liver diseases and improve the way these conditions are studied in the lab and how future medications for other illnesses are developed.
Researchers discovered a high-yield method to produce high-quality liver cells (hepatoblasts and hepatocytes) from pluripotent stem cells. Robustly generated from unlimited source material, these cells more closely resemble primary human hepatocytes, cells commonly taken from the liver of donors to produce a “liver-in-a-dish” for drug development and for the study of liver diseases. While primary hepatocytes remain the standard for regulatory bodies worldwide, they suffer from limited availability and variable quality, and they do not provide researchers with an accurate model for reliably predicting how new drug metabolism and toxicity will affect patients.
This new process will allow for more representative 2D and 3D modeling of human liver pathophysiology, and an accurate alternative to primary hepatocytes for drug development and testing. Moreover, the cells produced with this process have the potential to be developed into treatments for several liver diseases.
These findings were published online in the journal Stem Cell Reports on February 3, 2022. The work was supported by the Stem Cell Network and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, in partnership with Morphocell Technologies Inc.
“While our discovery opens up better avenues for studying hepatic diseases, we are most excited about its potential therapeutic value,” says Dr. Claudia Raggi, lead author on the study and co-founder and chief technology officer for Morphocell Technologies. “The ability to generate high-quality, homogenous cells at scale from an unlimited source is critical for any stem-cell derived treatment. At Morphocell, we are now using an approach derived from the findings described in this paper to produce ReLiver®ELT, an engineered liver tissue we developed to treat the most severe forms of liver failure. We are currently scaling up manufacturing to enable clinical trials.”
Morphocell Technologies Inc. is a Montreal, Canada-based regenerative medicine company founded by clinicians and scientists to develop stem cell-derived engineered tissues aimed at treating severe liver diseases. The company is currently conducting preclinical work ahead of a first-in-human clinical trial of its patented ReLiver® technology, an encapsulated cell therapy approach that can replace liver functions and accelerate the regeneration of the patient’s own liver without the need for immunosuppression.
“We are excited about the momentum we are building toward delivering life-saving treatments for adults and children facing serious liver diseases such as acute and acute-on-chronic liver failure, which can currently only be treated through liver transplantation,” says Dr. Massimiliano Paganelli, pediatric transplant hepatologist and researcher at CHU Sainte-Justine, principal investigator of the study and Morphocell’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “Our partnerships with public- and private-sector organizations are driving innovation in this space forward, and we are eager to see novel stem cell solutions transform from big ideas into powerful therapies in the near future.”
About Morphocell Technologies Inc.
Founded in 2018, Morphocell is a Montreal-based regenerative medicine company focused on the development and commercialization of stem cell therapies and engineered tissues aimed at treating severe liver diseases.
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