Ontario Genomics Institute invests in stem cell technology at Tissue Regenerative Therapeutics

November 12th, 2012
The Ontario Genomics Institute (OGI), through its Pre-Commercialization Business Development Fund (PBDF), has invested in Toronto-based Tissue Regenerative Therapeutics (TRT), a company that aims to use umbilical mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to treat a variety of serious medical conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes and Crohn's disease, to name a few. TRT will use this investment to conduct studies required to apply for approval to initiate human clinical trials.

MSCs are cells that can differentiate into musculoco-skeletal tissues such as bone, cartilage and muscle. Their ability to generate replacement tissues and affect cellular processes such as inflammation makes them an exciting potential therapy for a variety of conditions. Unlike other cells, MSCs can be used without the need for tissue matching and can be accumulated in large numbers. TRT has developed new methods to extract MSCs from umbilical cords, eliminating many of the challenges related to MSC harvesting from other tissue sources.

"Stem cell research is a promising area of biomedical research and it could have significant impact for people suffering from many conditions," said Mark Poznansky, President and CEO, OGI. "TRT is an excellent example of an Ontario company developing innovative therapies and translating research into potential clinical applications."

TRT is aiming to launch clinical trials to test these cells within the next two years. The PBDF funding from OGI will fund proteomic and transcriptomic analyses to further understand TRT's stem cells. These studies will provide valuable information needed for regulatory approval to conduct human clinical trials and further differentiate their product from those of competitors.

"We believe that these stem cells represent a unique and potent means of treating multiple debilitating diseases," said John Davies, CEO of TRT. "The OGI funding will enable us to demonstrate the utility of our cells for clinical applications using cutting edge technologies."

OGI's PBDF program invests in opportunities—based in genomics, proteomics or associated technologies—that fall in the proof-of-principle (validation) phase of research and that have the short-term potential to secure a significant next step towards the marketplace. Previous recipients have included Ontario universities, research institutes and companies.

Provided by Ontario Genomics Institute

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