Axol Bioscience and StrataStem collaborate to deliver ‘clinical trial in a dish’ for Alzheimer’s disease

James Spargo | June 7, 2023 | News story | Research and Development Alzheimer's, Axol Bioscience, Neurology, StrataStem 

Pluripotent stem cell technology provider Axol Bioscience has signed an exclusive agreement with UK-based StrataStem to access and commercialise its extensive collection of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patient samples for drug discovery.

The samples will be from patients with sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (sAD), the most common form of the disease. StrataStem’s collection is made up of consenting donator materials from sAD patients and healthy individuals, such as blood samples and fibroblasts.

Axol will reprogramme the patient samples into induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) that can then be differentiated into a wide range of brain cells which include neurons and neuroinflammatory cells in vitro. The end products will be a patient-specific human brain models ‒ creating a ‘clinical trial in a dish’.

These will be used to enable patient stratification prior to clinical trials for AD treatments, allowing drug discovery companies to select the most responsive patients for a potential trial.

Liam Taylor, CEO of Axol Bioscience, said: “Here at Axol, we are committed to using iPSCs to make better in vitro models of human disease, expanding our understanding and de-risk drug development. This exclusive agreement with StrataStem is a major strategic move for Axol, bringing us to the forefront of AD drug discovery and development. By commercialising this extensive iPSC library, our drug discovery customers can easily access in vitro models for sAD and interrogate potential mechanisms of the disease more fully. Patient stratification at the preclinical stage of drug development is an exciting concept, and we are proud to be among the first to actively source panels of patient samples with comprehensive longitudinal data to do this.”

Chris Ward, CSO and co-founder of StrataStem, added: “We are delighted to be entering this collaboration with the team at Axol. The recent US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Modernization Act 2.0 has paved the way for the use of cell-based assays to investigate drug safety and efficacy, including this innovative ‘clinical trial in a dish’ approach. We expect this advancement to de-risk drug development and expedite the process, while also providing valuable cost and time savings. We are indebted to the patients who continue to support us in advancing our understanding of AD towards the development of more effective treatments. Our collaboration with Axol will massively accelerate this process and enable researchers to better understand how and why the disease develops, help improve the accuracy of diagnosis and will undoubtedly identify new therapeutics for the treatment of the disease.”

James Spargo

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