Cell therapeutics company Sernova has signed a preclinical research collaboration agreement with AstraZeneca to assess the potential use of its Cell Pouch System with the latter’s novel therapeutic cells.

AstraZeneca is studying the application of Sernova’s Cell Pouch System for potential integration with its development of novel cell therapies for various indications.

Under the research partnership, AstraZeneca will lead the effort to develop cell technologies and pre-clinical activities in collaboration with Sernova.

It will also serve as the hub for the discovery and provide the entire funding for the development.

The preclinical research outcomes will allow the partners to assess the feasibility of potential therapeutic applications and product development.

Sernova president and CEO Dr Philip Toleikis said: “Sernova has developed a novel cell therapy approach for the potential treatment of insulin-dependent diabetes, hypothyroidism and haemophilia A.

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“By engrafting functional therapeutic cells within an implanted Cell Pouch, which naturally vascularises with surrounding tissues, we create an environment for the production and release of absent or under-expressed hormones and proteins.

“We are pleased to be working with AstraZeneca in the preclinical assessment of its various proprietary therapeutic cells in combination with our Cell Pouch.”

Sernova, a clinical-stage biotechnology company, is engaged in the development of therapeutic cell technologies for the treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes, thyroid disease and blood disorders including haemophilia A.

Currently, the company is focused on the development of a functional cure for diabetes patients who are dependent on insulin.

The company’s lead asset, the Cell Pouch System, is a novel implantable and scalable medical device which provides a natural vascularised tissue environment in the body for the long-term survival and function of therapeutic cells.

An ongoing Phase 1/2 clinical study at the University of Chicago has demonstrated the system’s ability to serve as a potential functional cure for type 1 diabetes patients.