Wednesday, January 13, 2016

News: Kirkstall secures export deal

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Rotherham biotechnology company, Kirkstall Ltd, has secured an export deal for the US and Canada for its advanced cell culture system that provides "in-vivo" like conditions for cell growth.

Kirkstall was established in 2006 and has an exclusive world-wide licence to patented cell culture technology from the University of Pisa in Italy. The technology is the outcome of over ten years of research and the Templeborough-based firm has developed this research into a commercially available inter-connected cell culture system which can be set up so that it mimics the human metabolism, resulting in high quality, rather than just high throughput screening.

The latest deal will see Triangle Research Labs (TRL) become the primary distributor of Kirkstall's 3-D cell fluidic culture system, QuasiVivo, in the US and Canada. TRL is a biotechnology provider and distributor based in North Carolina that specialises in hepatocytes - the chief functional cells of the liver that are used in testing.

The QuasiVivo system consists of a series of connected cell culture chambers creating a dynamic flow that provides a more physiologically accurate representation than cultures grown in static well plates.

Dr Malcolm Wilkinson, founder and CEO of Kirkstall, said: "We were searching for an organization to provide specialist market knowledge and help us deliver outstanding support to our US customers. TRL has a great reputation and already supply cell culture technology that is complementary to the QuasiVivo System."

3-D cell culture is one of the fastest growing segments of the cell culture tools market for drug development, toxicity testing, cancer research, and stem cell regenerative medicine research.

Kirkstall's QuasiVivo technology enables the creation of cell culture models that are more predictive of what is likely to happen in the clinic, which could lead to improved patient safety and reduction of attrition in later stages of drug development.

Maureen Bunger, technical director at TRL, said: "Researchers in cell biology are now recognising the need for complex cell culture model systems to provide more relevant predictive value. Improvements in hepatocytes physiology and function are apparent when cells are cultured in low-shear-stress fluidics such as provided in the QuasiVivo system.

"The QuasiVivo is a highly versatile system that supports hepatocytes function for more than three weeks enabling researchers to perform longer-term experiments using primary hepatocytes than they can in a typical static culture system. It's a great complement to TRL's current product line."

In 2007, Kirkstall won the Venturefest Investment competition and went on to secure further seed funding from the South Yorkshire Investment Fund.

Kirkstall website

Images: Kirkstall Ltd

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