Universal Cells to utilise CGT Catapult’s induced Pluripotent Stem Cells to create universally accepted cells for research and commercial use

London, UK, 5 October 2017 – The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) today announced a non-exclusive licensing agreement to provide its clinical-grade induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) line to Seattle based Universal Cells. Under the terms of the agreement, Universal Cells, a therapeutic gene editing company, will license CGT Catapult’s iPSC line for use in the continued research and development of its novel, clinic ready universal donor cell line.

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) lines hold great promise in the field of regenerative medicine because of their ability to propagate and be converted into any other cell in the body. Through this agreement, Universal Cells will use its proprietary gene editing technologies to edit CGT Catapult’s iPSC line with the aim of developing rejection free, off-the-shelf products that can be administered to any recipient.

The CGT Catapult developed the iPSC line in 2013 with the goal of establishing a clinical-grade cell line with a tightly defined haplotype. CGT Catapult has since been working to develop scalable processing platforms of pluripotent stem cells and their derivatives, to support the translation of research into commercially viable advanced therapy medicinal products.

“We are thrilled that our cell lines continue to be sought after by innovative, forward thinking companies such as Universal Cells. The licensing of our clinical-grade iPSC line highlights the quality of our research and how, through these agreements, the Catapult is helping to facilitate the ground-breaking R&D that will lead to the commercialisation of the living medicines of the future,” said Keith Thompson, CEO of the Cell & Gene Therapy Catapult.

By manipulating human leukocyte antigen (HLA) expression via gene editing the universal donor cell line presents a significant advantage over existing cell therapies in its ability to be universally used. Universal donor cells therefore remove the need for immunosuppressive therapy currently needed with allogenic cell therapies, whilst providing the scalable advantages not present with autologous cell therapies.

“Editing pluripotent stem cells to create universally compatible, off-the-shelf cell therapy products will be critical for achieving acceptable cost of goods and reducing variability in clinical trials,” commented Claudia Mitchell, CEO of Universal Cells “Catapult’s clinical-grade iPSC line is a solid starting material for the creation of such universal donor stem cell products”.

The continued focus from CGT on developing novel products, such as the pluripotent stem cell programme, provides the organisation with the opportunity to collaborate with academic and commercial partners across the world in some of the most innovative and promising areas of medical research. CGT Catapult is dedicated to supporting the growth of the UK cell and gene therapy industry by bridging the gap between scientific research and commercialisation.

About the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult was established as an independent centre of excellence to advance the growth of the UK cell and gene therapy industry, by bridging the gap between scientific research and full-scale commercialisation. With more than 120 employees focusing on cell and gene therapy technologies, it works with partners in academia and industry to ensure these life-changing therapies can be developed for use in health services throughout the world. It offers leading-edge capability, technology and innovation to enable companies to take products into clinical trials and provide clinical, process development, manufacturing, regulatory, health economics and market access expertise. Its aim is to make the UK the most compelling and logical choice for UK and international partners to develop and commercialise these advanced therapies. The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult works with Innovate UK. For more information please visit ct.catapult.org.uk or visit http://www.gov.uk/innovate-uk.

About Universal Cells Inc.

Universal Cells, Inc. is a Seattle-based biotech developing and commercializing stem cell therapies that overcome immune rejection and can be used to create true off-the-shelf therapeutic products. Using the company’s proprietary genome editing approach, the company engineers stem cells to prevent expression of polymorphic human leukocyte antigen (HLA) molecules, removing the cause of donor tissue rejection and creating Universal Donor Stem Cells that are compatible with every patient. For more information: http://www.universalcells.com.

For further information please contact:

FTI Consulting for the CGT Catapult

Con Franklin +44 (0) 203 319 5560 / con.franklin@fticonsulting.com

Michael Trace +44 (0) 203 319 5674 / michael.trace@fticonsulting.com