Cellesce, has announced a collaboration with Repositive, which has developed the Cancer Models product, a searchable web-based platform, that connects cancer researchers to the models and services they need to drive research.

The new partnership will expand the number of Repositive’s partners on Cancer Models to 12. Repositive’s integrated web-based solution, enables researchers to find cancer models derived from human tumours with many from commercial sources now searchable in one place.

Researchers worldwide can use Repositive’s platform to compare standardised molecular features, create collections and share with their team. Cellesce will keep control of data access, learn which models are most popular, and connect with new and existing customers.

Cellesce uses its proprietary bioprocessing technology to consistently expand tumour-derived organoid lines that originate from patient tissue. These organoids accurately recapitulate disease-causing genetic mutations and are produced in sufficient consistency, quality and quantity to support drug applications for compound screening.

This collaboration will provide novel and more complete research solutions to support commercial and academic partners as they undertake basic cancer research and pursue drug discovery programmes using tumour-derived organoids.

Dr Mark Treherne, Chief Executive of Cellesce, commented: “By partnering to provide an integrated drug discovery solution, Cellesce and Repositive are now in a position to provide a more comprehensive package to academic and commercial researchers working on cancer to find the most relevant organoids for their needs. This strategic partnership further underscores the value of providing organoids at scale and highlights the impact our models are having on the global research community.”

“By working with Cellesce, we’re making it easier for oncology researchers and data providers to collaborate and speed up the development of new treatments. Organoids expanded by Cellesce will further enable and expand our web-based solution.” said Dr Fiona Nielsen, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Repositive.

This new collaboration was announced at EORTC-NCI-AACR 2018, which took place at the Dublin Convention Centre on Wednesday 14th November during which Repositive hosted its Pre-Clinical Oncology Showcase. Dr Mark Treherne, Cellesce CEO was one of the presenters.

Horizon Discovery and Cellesce presented a joint poster at the ELRIG Drug Discovery Exhibition and Conference which took place 9th – 10th October in London. The last panel shows data confirming the activity of Trametinib  and demonstrating the differential effects of Dabrafenib from two lines of Cellesce expanded organoids. Both drugs, which can be used in combination to overcome resistance have been approved for clinical use.

Subsequently Horizon Discovery has published a proof of concept case study – High-Throughput Screening in Colorectal Organoids.

 

Cellesce is working in collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the UK’s National Measurement Institute, to image and analyse its range of colorectal cancer organoids.

The collaboration is the result of a successful bid to ‘Analysis for Innovators’ – a £4M Innovate UK programme that offers access to funding and expertise to improve companies’ overall performance by offering measurement and analysis expertise to projects that can show a positive business impact through solving an existing problem.

Organoids are 3D in vitro cultures that can self-organise to mimic the organs from which they are derived. They are proving to be a relevant preclinical model for the study of cancer, especially in drug discovery. There is accumulating evidence that organoids grown in 3D are better at predicting efficacy than monolayer cell lines since they replicate key aspects of tumours such as genetic diversity, differentiation, multicellularity, drug penetration and signalling pathway interactions.

The work with NPL will seek to establish an in-house, rapid, quantitative, morphometric imaging method to validate and compare batches of organoids. This will provide the consistent quality assurance necessary for uptake of the model in the pharmaceutical industry. The analysis could potentially be translated into quantifying outputs from high-throughput screening assays as the new accepted standard for drug discovery.

“Currently, individual organoids can be imaged for academic research purposes but there remain significant unmet commercial and technical needs to translate this analysis into a high-throughput and internationally recognised industrial standard,” said Dr Mark Treherne, Cellesce CEO. “A new morphometric imaging standard would solve the current technical, medical and commercial problems we and others have experienced. An effective solution will be transformational for Cellesce and for enabling cancer drug discovery worldwide”.

Mike Shaw, Senior Research Scientist, Biometrology Group, National Physical Laboratory, said: “Organoids have great potential to improve our understanding of many biological and pathological processes. They can also help us to outline new tools for screening new therapeutic treatments. We are excited to be working with Cellesce to develop and apply state-of-the-art imaging and analysis techniques to characterise their tumour organoids and support the wider adoption of organoid technologies.”

Cellesce and Cardiff University have won an Innovate UK competition. The award will fund a collaborative project that aims to improve research into scaling up organoids to enable the discovery of new breast cancer therapies. This project will build on the expertise the two teams have already established with colorectal cancer organoids.

Organoids are three-dimensional (3D) stem cell cultures that can self-organise into ‘mini-organs.’ They facilitate the study of tumour pathology to enable cancer drug discovery. Organoids are closer to in vivo tumours than more conventional 2D cell line cultures and can provide more relevant pharmacological responses to drugs and antibodies. By using organoids in drug discovery screening assays, scientists can identify active compounds for further progression earlier in the drug discovery process and weed out less attractive compounds before incurring higher downstream costs.

Professor Trevor Dale, Cardiff University, said: “One of the hurdles of identifying new and effective treatments is the accuracy of cell responses to the compounds you are testing, since cells in a petri dish frequently don’t behave as they would in the body. By growing cells in 3D, we can recreate much of the complexity that is seen in patients’ tumours and therefore, get a better idea of how effective new therapies will be. We use donated tumour tissue, taken from patients in hospital, to grow organoids. By growing tumours from different patients, pharmaceutical companies may be able to match specific new therapies to specific cancer types.”

“Cellesce is already producing patient-derived colorectal organoids on a commercial scale for research use and screening in drug discovery, by using its proprietary organoid expansion bioprocessor,” said Dr Mark Treherne, Cellesce CEO. “90% of early-stage compounds fail to demonstrate relevant clinical efficacy so extending the range of cancer tissues that we can provide at scale will enable more pharmaceutical companies to embrace organoid technology. We believe this will provide our customers with a more robust, relevant and cost-effective model for screening new drug compounds”.

Cellesce has featured in the latest edition of ‘Advances,’ the journal for science, engineering and technology innovation in Wales.

You can view and download the complete edition of  ‘Advances’ here.

Images in the article are © Cellesce | NPL | M Squared Lasers

Cellesce has appointed Dr. Mark Treherne as its CEO. Mark, a veteran of the biotech industry, will lead the Company through the next phase of its development programme and commercialisation phase. Cellesce’s pioneering organoid expansion technology is focused on cancer research and compound library screening at scale for drug discovery.

John Allbrook and Mark Treherne

John Allbrook, Chairman (left), welcomes Mark Treherne who becomes the new Cellesce CEO

Mark obtained his PhD in pharmacology from Cambridge University and then developed novel 3D tissue culture models, as an academic at the University of Basel until 1992. He has over 25 years’ experience in the discovery of novel treatments for diseases with unmet medical need. Mark formerly worked at Pfizer where he was responsible for research into neurodegenerative diseases, including using stem-cell derived lines for screening compounds. In 1997, Mark set up Cambridge Drug Discovery as Chief Executive, which was then sold to BioFocus (now part of Charles River) in 2001. Since then, Mark has worked with many early-stage biotechnology companies from foundation through to trade sale.‎ More recently, he was Chief Executive of the Life Sciences Organisation of UK Trade & Investment, which helped UK-based Life Sciences companies raise investment and export overseas.

“We are delighted to have Mark on board,” said John Allbrook, Non-Executive Chairman of Cellesce. “His background and experience in the industry, particularly with early-stage biotech companies, is particularly welcome as we begin to commercialise our organoid technology. Mark’s appointment adds credibility to the fast-developing realisation that organoids have an important role to play in the drug discovery arena.”

Cellesce the cancer organoid bioprocessing and scale-up company has announced a successful six-figure funding round that will open up opportunities to introduce its organoid scale-up and expansion technology to the oncology drug discovery screening market. This funding round has, once again, been led by the Development Bank of Wales, a measure of the confidence it has in both the Cellesce technology and the founding team.

The Cellesce Team

The Cellesce Team at the Cardiff Medicentre

In recent months, Cellesce has moved into a state-of-the-art laboratory within the Cardiff Medicentre and has launched its first range of colorectal organoids, originally derived from patients’ tumours. These organoids are opening up exciting new opportunities for cancer research and compound library screening at scale for drug discovery.

Organoids are three-dimensional (3D) stem cell cultures that can self-organise into ex vivo ‘mini-organs.’ They facilitate the study of tumour pathology to enable cancer drug discovery. Organoids are closer to in vivo tumours than more conventional 2D cell line cultures and can provide more relevant pharmacological responses to drugs and antibodies. By using organoids in drug discovery screening assays, scientists can identify active compounds for further progression earlier in the drug discovery process and weed out less attractive compounds before incurring higher downstream costs.

“Cellesce is an exciting start-up, which is poised to take advantage of fast evolving organoid technology,” explained Development Bank of Wales Investment Executive Philip Barnes. “The company has high growth potential and is making exciting progress in an important area of medical research. We’re pleased to offer our continued support to the team as they further develop their organoid technology.”

 Cellesce CEO, Nicholas Duggan added: “We are delighted by the confidence that Development Bank of Wales has shown in Cellesce. We already have our first commercial customers and huge interest is being shown by organisations involved in several areas of medical research. This new funding will enable us to take our expansion technology to the next stage with Cellesce becoming the leading provider of organoids and expansion services to a number of key movers in cancer drug discovery.”

Cellesce, has moved to new state of the art lab space in the Cardiff Medicentre. This will be the base for continuing organoid research and scale-up operations. The Medicentre is ideally located in Central Cardiff and in close proximity to Cardiff University, a Cellesce partner. The Medicentre also provides sufficient space to accommodate Cellesce’s planned expansion.

Cardiff Medicentre

The Cellesce lab at the Cardiff Medicentre

Organoids are derived from adult stem cells, for example those found in patients’ tumours, and then grown on in a research lab. The cells divide and cluster to grow into miniature assemblies of the original tumours, which display the same three-dimensional morphology and underlying pathology of the cancer. This offers transformational possibilities for medical research and drug discovery.

Cellesce is focused on the supply of standardised and well characterised cancer organoids for large-scale applications such as compound screening, especially for high throughput screening requirements, where significant quantities of reproducible batches are required. Organoids can then become an inexhaustible supply of miniature tumours for pre-clinical research purposes.

Cellesce, has formally launched and published the supporting data package for its first range of colorectal organoids. Based on three and a half years of bioprocess development research Cellesce has now successfully grown, reliably expanded and characterised a range of 10 novel organoids. Ethically derived from colorectal cancer patients, these organoids open up exciting new opportunities for further oncology research and compound library screening for drug discovery.

Colorectal organoids

Example images of five of our ten colorectal organoid lines. Confocal images using 20X objective of Cell Insight Cx7. Organoids stained for nuclear (blue) and cytoskeletal (red) markers for imaging. Scale 50μm

Colorectal cancer (CRC), is the development of cancer from the large bowel, which accounts for over 9% of all cancers. It is the third most common cancer worldwide and the fourth most common cause of death, especially in the over 60s. More common in developed countries with an ageing population, the high level of incidence and unmet medical need makes colorectal cancer an active area of research, which the successful development of Cellesce’s organoid technology is enabling, especially in drug discovery.

Cancer organoids are derived from tumours that are grown on in a research lab. Cancer cells divide and cluster to grow into miniature clusters that preserve many of the features of the original tumour, including similar three-dimensional morphology. Most importantly, they show drug responses that are similar to that of the tumours from which they are derived. This offers transformational possibilities for medical research and drug discovery. Organoids can become an inexhaustible supply of miniature tumours for pre-clinical research. The unmet medical need in colorectal cancer is for drug testing systems that better predict patient responses to new compounds including antibodies and small molecule therapeutics.

Cellesce’s initial offering of 10 colorectal cancer organoid lines, have each been DNA profiled and quality assured for consistency, viability after freezing and uniform size. Organoids are frozen and stored in cryovials and are shipped worldwide with instructions for their in vitro research use. Tumour-derived organoids are characterised for their pharmacological responses to a standard set of compounds as part of the quality control process.

Cellesce Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Marianne Ellis said: “These colorectal cancer organoids represent the first product made using our successful and novel bioprocessing expansion technology. We are now moving on to develop normal healthy colorectal organoids to provide a valuable resource from non-cancerous controls for the compound screening, as well as for basic gastrointestinal research.

Cellesce receives further funding

The Cellesce Team – Julian Chaudhuri, Nicholas Duggan, Marianne Ellis, Phil Barnes (Finance Wales) and Trevor Dale

Cardiff-based life sciences company Cellesce is continuing to develop its organoid research thanks to a recent six-figure funding round led by Finance Wales. This injection of new capital will enable Cellesce to continue development of its organoid expansion technology and establish its growing team in the GE Innovation Village in Cardiff.

Cellesce Founder and CTO, Marianne Ellis said: “I am very proud of what Cellesce has achieved to date. We have taken an idea, which emanated from the University of Bath, and together with our colleagues at Cardiff University have built this new technology.

“The initial funding we received from Innovate UK and NC3Rs helped us to make great progress. This significant additional investment will enable both further development of the Cellesce cell expansion process and further our ambition to become a significant player in the emerging organoid sector.”

 

What are organoids?

 Organoids are the future of medical research. They allow researchers the opportunity to test new forms of treatment on groups of cells, which more closely resemble the target cells in a person.

“Organoids are derived from stem cells and grown in a lab. They are clusters of cells that grow into minute versions of organs. They display the three-dimensional characteristics and physiology of real organs, offering unique possibilities for medical research focused on drug discovery and personalised medicine,” added Marianne.

Cellesce’s technology focuses on expansion, ensuring that there are enough organoids of sufficient quality to enable their application by the pharmaceutical industry. It forms a valuable building block that promises to enable widespread adoption of organoids.

“Cellesce is an exciting start up, which is poised to take advantage of fast evolving organoid technology,” explained Finance Wales Investment Executive Philip Barnes. “The company has high growth potential and is making exciting progress in an important area of medical research.”

CEO Nicholas Duggan added: “Cellesce is delighted to have secured the investment and support of Finance Wales. We are now in an exciting phase of our development, as we come out of academia and begin to commercialise a technology that promises to revolutionise several areas of medical research. We will be working closely with our partners to take our expansion technology to the next stage, which we hope will see Cellesce becoming the leading provider of organoid expansion services across the sector.”