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Latest From CellFactors PLC
Two years ago it looked as if all was lost at Pharming: escalating costs for its Pompe's disease program and indebtedness to its JV partner Genzyme forced it into legal moratorium in August 2001. Today, Pharming's back in the game; indeed, its new management, slimmed down operations and heightened focus on cost control mirrors the many other European biotechs trying to adapt to the harsh winter. But Pharming could have avoided near death by not turning its development partner into its biggest creditor. Still, the firm's turnaround-even this far-shows a reassuring willingness among Europe's investors to assume risk and give companies another chance.
When UK cell therapy company CellFactors failed to raise money last year, one of its shareholders stepped in as COO, bringing commercial experience and a customer focus to a group that lacked both. CellFactors is still a risky bet, but its recent progress suggests that European biotechs have much to gain from managers with a track record in other sectors.
Cell immortalization has become a fundamental tool for drug researchers seeking to test compounds in animal or human models. But the immortalization process can alter cell physiology, producing cells whose characteristics differ markedly from those of the primary cells from which they were derived. Xcellsyz's solution to that problem is its technology for conditionally immortalizing cells, which it plans to use both as part of a service business and in its internal drug discovery program.
UK biotech incubator Medical Marketing International Group PLC enjoyed a taste of success earlier this month when Cambridge-based CellFactors PLC, the most advanced of MMI's current wave of investments, was granted a US patent for its method of producing stem cells and preventing them from proliferating once they are transplanted into humans.
- Gene Therapy, Cell Therapy