Singaporean biotech company to provide innovative stem cell treatment to patients in UK

October 14, 2021
Singaporean biotech company to provide innovative stem cell treatment to patients in UK

Singapore-based Cell Research Corporation’s (CRC) patented stem cell therapy for the treatment of chronic diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) has been awarded an ‘Innovation Passport’ under the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway (ILAP). This award will facilitate accelerated access to CRC’s umbilical cord lining stem cell therapy for patients suffering with a DFU in the UK.

DFUs are reported to affect more than 30 million people globally and have a 50% mortality rate over just 5 years. In Singapore, there is an average of four lower extremity amputations a day in people with diabetes – most of these are preceded by DFUs.

CRC discovered that the umbilical cord lining of mammals was abundant in both mesenchymal and epithelial stem cells and would make a promising treatment forcritical wounds such as DFUs.

“Umbilical cord lining technology is exciting because its applications range from chronic DFUs to other difficult to heal wounds such as venousulcers and burns. There is also the promise of future treatments for other diseases such as lupus, age related macular degeneration and other auto-immune conditions,” explained CRC Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Phan Toan Thang.

The company is one of only 20 globally to receive the ILAP designation; it is also the first Singaporean company to do so: the recognition by the UK regulatory authorities that CRC’s highly innovative technology platform has the potential to benefit patients suffering from life threatening or debilitating illness. It additionally signifies commitment on the part of the regulators to collaborate with CRC on the development of this therapy and to facilitate its access to the UK market.

Chief Executive Officer Gavin Tan, CRC said: “We are delighted with this development – it is a crucial step closer to treating patients with this serious and debilitating disease. This is, I believe, the first Innovation Passport granted to an asset born in Singapore and helps strengthen our country’s position as a leader in biotechnology on the global stage.”

UK’s ILAP involves close engagement with other stakeholders including the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC)and patients to facilitate patient access to life-saving medicines. Such medicines include new chemical entities, biological medicines, new indications, and repurposed medicines.

CRC will endeavour seek similar regulatory designations for regenerative medicines in the European Union and the US in the coming months.

Meanwhile, CRC was also recently awarded a grant funding totaling S$16 million (US$11.85 million) by the Singapore government, to support the development of projects utilising the company’s patented technology. Part of the agreement involves the establishment of a joint laboratory with the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB),to which the government will contribute S$6 million. IMCB is a national research institution based in Singapore and funded by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

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