Cellfactors wins U.S. lab patent


02-08-2001

Cellfactors has cornered the market in growing human cells in the lab for bone and brain repair.

The Cambridge company has won a U.S. patent which chief executive, Dr Iain Cubitt says means anyone wanting to grow human cells in this way will need a Cellfactors licence.



Initially the new method is expected to be used in dental work but its uses will be much wider, including treatment and possible cure for diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.



The company says the U.S. patent also establishes it among the top five in the world working in cell therapy.



Cellfactors' technology is known as Skeletex and involves stimulating the growth of new bone and brain cells via the lab. Clinical trials are programmed for next year.



'Material produced by human cells has a complex structure which leads to its very high biological activity,' the company says.



'We believe it would be difficult to obtain comparable results in any way other than from the culture of human cells.



'It is the ability of Skeletex to produce the correctly formed structure necessary to stimulate active bone development which is the real breakthrough. It is this that will be protected by the U.S. patent.'



The patent also covers a safety device which makes it possible to disable cells selectively after transplantation if necessary.



MMI, which has a substantial minority holding in Cellfactors, saw its share price lift 6.5p to 72p following the news.