December 24, 2012

December 24, 2012 The Technion and AMIT established a new company to commercialize stem cell technologies

COMPATIBLE HUMAN stem cells can cure blood cancers Photo: (University of Louisville Medical School
COMPATIBLE HUMAN stem cells can cure blood cancers Photo: (University of Louisville Medical School

December 24, 2012

The Technion and AMIT (Alfred Mann Institute at the Technion) have established a new company for commercialization of stem cell technologies developed for over a decade at the stem cell research center headed by Professor Joseph Itskovitz-Eldor from the Bruce and Ruth Rappaport Faculty of Medicine. Professor Itskovitz-Eldor is a pioneer and a world leader in the field of stem cell research.

The company, Accellta, will market technologies that will enable commercial companies  and research laboratories to culture masses of homogenous stem cell lines in a fast and  cost-effective manner. The innovative technologies, developed by Professor Itskovitz-  Eldor and Dr. Michal Amit, a senior researcher at the stem cell research center, address  the need for employing genetic manipulation of the cells; although a highly desirable  procedure, the latter is currently associated with poor outcomes. The revolutionary  technologies introduced by Accellta enable to successfully manipulate the cells and
thus enhance the development of prospective stem cell-based therapies and disease  models. In the future the company will also focus on regenerative medicine solutions  and stem cell-based therapeutics for currently incurable diseases.

Professor Itskovitz-Eldor, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at  Rambam Health Care Campus and Director of the Stem Cell Center at the Technion,  is internationally recognized as one of the founders of the field of stem cell research. In  1998, in collaboration with Professor James Thomson from the University of Wisconsin,  he isolated the first human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), which is considered one  of the most important scientific breakthroughs in medical history. In the same year,  he established the first stem cell research laboratory in Israel, and currently holds the
largest number of scientific publications in the field of hESCs.

Since 1998, Professor Itskovitz-Eldor and Dr. Michal Amit have developed advanced  stem cell technologies, including xeno-free and defined growth media, cell culturing  scale-up methods, genetic manipulation techniques and protocols for induced  differentiation of the cells into desired cell types; All of which fundamental to screening  and testing of new therapeutic compounds. The Technion invested in a broad portfolio  of patents to protect these promising inventions.

Accellta will operate in the global stem cell market, estimated at 2 billion dollars and  double-digit annual growth. The market comprises mostly of products and services  for stem cell research and development, as most stem cell technologies are still in  development and have not yet been authorized for clinical use in humans. The stem cell  market is expected to skyrocket in the coming years, once treatments currently under  clinical evaluation receive approval from health authorities.

The Alfred Mann Institute at the Technion – AMIT, has been operating since 2006 to  accelerate the development and commercialization of selected biomedical technologies  invented by Technion scientists. The institute was founded by the initiative of American  billionaire, Dr. Alfred Mann, who funds its activities and serves as Chairman of the  Board of Directors. In addition to Accellta, AMIT also manages four other ventures,  three of which have become start-up companies. According to Professor Itskovitz-Eldor, “The Company’s activities will facilitate the adoption by industrial and clinical entities of some of the world’s most innovative and advanced technologies for culturing pluripotent stem cells (both embryonic and

induced). These unique cells have the ability to generate any cell type of the human  body. Our novel methods can also be used as a platform for the production of proteins  and antibodies as well as for screening of novel therapeutics across a wide range of  diseases. Accellta has already started establishing collaborations with a number of  international companies.”