Thursday, June 08, 2023
Axol Bioscience Ltd. (Axol), a prominent provider of pluripotent stem cell technology for drug discovery, has entered into an exclusive partnership with StrataStem. Under this agreement, Axol gains access to and the right to commercialize StrataStem's vast collection of patient samples specifically related to Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Through their expertise in stem cell research, Axol will reprogram these patient samples into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which can be further differentiated into various brain cell types, including neurons and neuroinflammatory cells. By growing these cells in vitro, Axol aims to generate patient-specific human brain models derived from a diverse group of AD patients, essentially creating a revolutionary 'clinical trial in a dish' approach.
To accelerate the search for effective treatments for Alzheimer's Disease (AD), Axol Bioscience and StrataStem have focused on sporadic AD (sAD), which accounts for more than 95% of all cases. Unlike familial AD, sAD has no specific genetic link and is influenced by a combination of genetics, environment, and lifestyle factors. StrataStem has obtained fully consented donor materials, including fibroblasts and blood samples, from both sAD patients and healthy individuals. These samples come with extensive longitudinal data, encompassing disease progression, medical history, lifestyle information, and family health summaries.
Using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from a large-scale Alzheimer's cohort, Axol aims to generate differentiated brain cells that allow for patient stratification in preclinical trials for AD treatments. This stratification enables drug discovery companies to select the most responsive patients for their trials. Axol's in vitro approach presents a promising alternative to traditional in vivo methods, potentially reducing the risks, costs, and timelines associated with AD drug discovery and development while providing more relevant disease models.
Liam Taylor, CEO of Axol Bioscience, expressed the company's dedication to leveraging iPSCs to develop improved in vitro models of human diseases, expanding understanding and mitigating risks in the drug development process. The exclusive agreement with StrataStem marks a significant strategic move for Axol, positioning them at the forefront of AD drug discovery and development. By making the extensive iPSC library commercially available, Axol aims to provide drug discovery customers with convenient access to in vitro models for sAD, facilitating comprehensive investigations into the disease's mechanisms.
Chris Ward, CSO and Co-founder of StrataStem, expressed enthusiasm for collaborating with Axol and highlighted the FDA Modernization Act 2.0, which supports the use of cell-based assays, including the 'clinical trial in a dish' approach, for studying drug safety and efficacy. This advancement is expected to reduce risks in drug development, expedite the process, and result in cost and time savings. Ward acknowledged the invaluable contribution of patients in advancing the understanding of AD and developing more effective treatments. The collaboration with Axol is anticipated to significantly accelerate research, enhance comprehension of AD development, improve diagnostic accuracy, and identify novel therapeutic approaches for the disease.