CellCap Technologies Limited was formed in 2012 to exploit our research over the last 2 years in cell separation technologies.
CellCap is using the company's unique approach to cell capture to develop simple consumables for the Life Sciences research sector.
At the heart of the cell capture system is a large, ultra-dense particle, which when combined with our novel antibody presentation (the 'molecular zipper'), greatly increases the capture efficiency direct from primary tissues such as whole blood or adipose. Following capture and purification the cells can be released with a simple buffer change that does not affect cell viability.
CellCap's main focus is harvesting stem cells in high numbers from blood or adipose lipoaspirate. Our target is to provide a tool for researchers to capture over 1 million stem cells in under 30 minutes so that they can investigate regenerative medicines using cells in clinically significant numbers and in conditions similar to the in-vivo state.
The capture technique is applicable for other biological targets and removes the need for the complex sample processing steps often required. For example we have repeatedly demonstrated almost 100% depletion of T Cells from 15 ml of whole blood and actually get improved yield than from a buffy coat preparation.
The technology should also be applicable for bacteria, spores, viruses and proteins. Whilst CellCap will not target these areas itself, we are interested to collaborate with other companies active in these fields.
To date the technique has been evaluated in the Department of Clinical Engineering at the University of Liverpool. CellCap is looking for two more academic or corporate groups to replicate the experiments and has limited funding available to commission this work.
CellCap Technologies was born from a very simple request – to capture and purify 1 million stem cells in the same condition as they are in the body.
Many researchers think that 1 million stem cells is the level needed to see a clinical effect, but because they are unable to directly harvest this number nearly all work is performed on cells isolated in small numbers and then cultured to expand the cell population.
Reviewing the field we realised that there are no methods available to the typical life science research laboratory to achieve this goal. Techniques used require extensive pre-treatments of primary tissues which take time and change the condition of the cell.
Affinity capture using antibody coated paramagnetic particles is the most widely used technique. These achieve high purity, but low yield of cell numbers from tissues and whole blood. Being small (50 nm – 4.7 µM), they can also become internalised in the cell, affecting cell expression.
CellCap therefore developed its technology to solve this problem using much larger and dense particles. Coupled to our antibody capture methodology (the 'molecular zipper') we have successfully demonstrated very high yields of cell capture from primary tissues.
Our initial work showed over 98% removal of T-Cells from 15 ml of whole blood and over 80% removal of stem cells from rat adipose stromal vascular fraction.
In May 2012 CellCap Technologies secured its seed funding from the NorthWest Biomedical Fund to progress the technology to harvest one million adult mesenchymal stem cells from adipose lipoaspirate.
Initially promoted as a research tool, we anticipate that this will allow researchers to investigate regenerative medicine therapies using stem cells in the condition found in the body, with a technique that can translate in the future into the clinic for autologous stem cell treatments.
Damian Bond (CEO, Founder) was previously S & M Director, International Diagnostics Group; Marketing Manager, Unilever; Founder & Chief Executive of Platform Diagnostics and ProKyma Technologies. He has founded three life sciences / diagnostics companies and one cleantech one. Whilst commercially focused, he is also an inventor on over 10 patent applications.
Dr Christopher Stanley
Dr Christopher Stanley (Chairman, CTO, Founder) has operational experience in the clinical and veterinary diagnostics industry, the downstream bioprocessing industry, has consulted to pharmaceutical companies on drug discovery and delivery technologies and has advised venture funds on making early stage seed investments in life sciences startups. He has founded four life sciences companies, taking the role of CEO or CTO. He has also been a senior member of management in two clinical diagnostics companies that achieved a trade sale to multinationals and has also been part of the team that acquired the assets of a UK-based plc. Dr Stanley has a particular focus on intellectual property and is an inventor on >40 patent applications.
Prof. John Hunt, BSc, PhD, DSc. FRSC
Professor in The Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, Head of the Unit of Clinical Engineering and Director of the U.K. Centre for Tissue Engineering (UKCTE).
John's research focuses on developing breakthrough therapies, devices and technology to repair, replace, augment and in the future regenerate diseased and damaged tissues in humans using material interventions. Understanding the generic science to deliver interventional medical therapies requiring the use of a material (within which cells are also considered as a material). These will come from an in depth generic first principles approach to understanding and directing the patient's cellular and molecular mechanisms and responses related to the clinical outcome and efficacy of medical devices, biocompatibility, inflammation and stem cell biology. Tissue engineering processes are developed and applied, addressing the key areas of patient treatments requiring intervention and material implantation; the materials of choice being researched today also include cells and within that, expertise and intellectual property has been created relating to primary cell sourcing, controlling cell function and phenotype through defining and controlling extracellular matrix interactions, angiogenesis, inflammation and tissue regeneration. From a strong long lived generic research platform, specific applications and knowledge has been applied to and continue to be developed for musculoskeletal tissues specifically cartilage and bone, visceral and vascular tissues. Professor Hunt's research has been funded by the European Commission, BBSRC, MRC and EPSRC as well as by Industry.
The North West Fund for Biomedical and SPARK Impact
The £25m North West Fund for Biomedical, which is managed by SPARK Impact, is part of the £185m evergreen fund provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to supply debt and equity funding to small and medium sized enterprises in the North West of England. The North West Fund for Biomedical is accessible to a broad range of companies including those developing pharmaceuticals, new diagnostics and medical devices, and those working in the fields of clinical research, contract manufacturing and analytical services.