Texas biotech rounds up $2 million for platform to grow stem cells faster

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A University of Texas spinoff company has pulled in $2 million to test a new technique for culturing non-embryonic stem cells.

According to a regulatory filing, StemBioSys raised at least $2 million of a $3.5 million equity offering. A company representative was not available to elaborate, but CEO Dr. Steven Davis told the San Antonio Business Journal last year when the company began raising the round that it would fund research projects to validate the quality of the stem cells generated by the company’s technology.

StemBioSys is developing XC-marrow ECM, a propriety three-dimensional culture for growing mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow, adipose tissue and umbilical cord blood. These immature cells have multiple potential uses in research and therapeutics because they can self-renew and mature into a variety of cell types. Stem cell therapies are being studied as a repair mechanism for tissues all over the body, from the heart to the brain to the knees.

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The company says its three-dimensional extracellular matrix can grow cells quicker than conventional media while retaining stem cell properties and may help overcome key obstacles in creating stem cell therapies.

The technology was developed by Dr. Xiao-Dong Chen, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center and the company’s chief scientific officer, and licensed from UT.

Although it’s only available for research purposes now, this kind of technology could have therapeutic applications down the line. “If this research transfers successfully to clinical application in humans, we could establish personal stem cell banks,” Chen said back in 2011, when he and colleagues had a study published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. “We would collect a small number of older stem cells from patients, put those into our young microenvironment to rescue them – increasing their number and quality – then deliver them back into the patient.”

The company has struck a deal with GenCure, an affiliate of the nonprofit South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, to receive mononuclear cells from clinical grade umbilical-cord blood that it uses for R&D purposes.

It was founded in 2010 in San Antonio, Texas and has received previous funding from the Texas Technology Development Center’s McDermott Pre-Seed Fund.

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Deanna Pogorelc

By Deanna Pogorelc MedCity News

Deanna Pogorelc is a Cleveland-based reporter who writes obsessively about life science startups across the country, looking to technology transfer offices, startup incubators and investment funds to see what’s next in healthcare. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University and previously covered business and education for a northeast Indiana newspaper.
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