The research-based company Bioneer now offers industry collaboration in drug development by using the gene editing technology CRISPR combined with induced pluripotent stem cells.
The CRISPR technology (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is currently the hottest gene editing technology in use. It allows scientists to edit genomes with unprecedented precision, efficiency, and flexibility. Hence, the technology is quickly gaining ground after being patented in the US in April 2014.
Bioneer’s force is that they combine the CRISPR technology with the so-called “induced pluripotent stem cells” (iPS cells). The combination of iPS cell technology with the CRISPR technology creates an even more powerful platform for advanced research in vitro screening models. Hence, during the last 7 years, Bioneer has developed protocols and a core facility to establish advanced patient-specific cell lines.
The competencies gained from using the CRISPR technology and iPS cells allow Bioneer to engage in industry-sponsored research collaborations with Danish and foreign companies, where specific models of disease are developed.
“The clever thing about these cell models is that they are very precise model systems of specific diseases and these models can be used in the industry for testing new drug candidates. The cell models are much better, and cheaper, than the animal models used today. The advantage is that we are using human cells from patients with that specific disease. No matter how much you edit or manipulate a mouse, it will never be human, so our models will allow better and faster identification of new drug candidates”, says Christian Clausen, Head of Biomedical Technology at Bioneer.
These advantages are backed by the Danish, CNS-focused, pharmaceutical company H. Lundbeck A/S.
“It gives us the opportunity to work in systems that are different from animal systems. It’s also one of the only tools where we have a direct link between what we see in the clinic and what we see in a petri dish”, says Jan Egebjerg, Vice President of H. Lundbeck,.
At the moment, Bioneer is focusing its efforts in the CNS area, specifically within dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, but the possibilities are endless.
“The fact that iPS cells can differentiate into, almost, any cell type means that we can create models of many different diseases. At the moment, we are focusing on CNS, but we are open to discuss collaborations in other areas if the opportunity arises,” says Christian Clausen.
Source: Invest in Denmark